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Poster F118

Deaf Gain: Evidence for enhanced beat perception to vibrotactile rhythms in Deaf individuals

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Sean Gilmore1 (, Harley Glassman1, Frank Russo1; 1Toronto Metropolitan University

The term “Deaf Gain” is often used to connote a shift in the conceptualization of deafness from a focus on loss to a focus on cognitive and cultural gains. Most neuroscience research examining Deaf Gain has investigated enhancement in processing of visual stimuli. The enhancement appears to be associated with activity in primary auditory cortices, with compensatory plasticity as the proposed mechanism. There is also a smaller body of research which has found evidence indicating that auditory regions may also respond to vibrotactile stimuli. With mixed results from research examining enhancements in vibrotactile perception, we sought to examine vibrotactile rhythm perception in a Deaf population. The current study aimed to examine the capacity for vibrotactile beat perception in a sample of deaf and hearing individuals. In each condition, participants felt a series of vibrotactile rhythms that varied in rhythmic complexity. To compare beat perception ability, we examined sensorimotor synchronization (SMS) and neuroelectric activity at the frequency of the beat. Data were modeled using mix-effect linear models with rhythm complexity, hearing ability and an interaction as predictors. We hypothesized that, compared to hearing individuals, deaf individuals would show enhanced beat perception to vibrotactile rhythms, specifically the more complex rhythms. EEG results indicate heightened oscillatory activity to vibrotactile rhythms in individuals who are deaf compared to those who are hearing. SMS results revealed a significant interaction, with SMS ability specifically heightened in complex rhythms, but only for deaf individuals. Together, these results provide evidence for Deaf Gain in vibrotactile rhythm perception.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Other


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April 13–16  |  2024