It is commonly assumed that sensory deprivation leads to compensatory changes in the remaining sensory modalities. In the case of profound deafness, this notion has remained controversial despite the increasing interest for this issue in the last three decades. Here we review the empirical evidence on visual abilities in profound deafness, with the aim of highlighting the different operational definitions of “better visual ability” adopted in this literature, and examining the consistency of the findings across tasks. In addition, we examine to what extent the heterogeneity of the empirical findings can be explained by four transversal aspects: 1) diversity in deaf individuals characteristics; 2) visual feature of the target stimulus; 3) target eccentricity; and 4) selective spatial attention. We suggest that profound deafness results in enhanced reactivity to visual events, rather than enhanced perceptual representations. In addition, although we corroborate the notion that deafness modulates peripheral visual processing and selective spatial attention, we conclude that any further understanding of the compensatory visual abilities in deaf individuals should face the complexity of both these aspect for deaf visual cognition.

Visual abilities in individuals with profound deafness: a critical review

Pavani, Francesco;Bottari, Davide
2012

Abstract

It is commonly assumed that sensory deprivation leads to compensatory changes in the remaining sensory modalities. In the case of profound deafness, this notion has remained controversial despite the increasing interest for this issue in the last three decades. Here we review the empirical evidence on visual abilities in profound deafness, with the aim of highlighting the different operational definitions of “better visual ability” adopted in this literature, and examining the consistency of the findings across tasks. In addition, we examine to what extent the heterogeneity of the empirical findings can be explained by four transversal aspects: 1) diversity in deaf individuals characteristics; 2) visual feature of the target stimulus; 3) target eccentricity; and 4) selective spatial attention. We suggest that profound deafness results in enhanced reactivity to visual events, rather than enhanced perceptual representations. In addition, although we corroborate the notion that deafness modulates peripheral visual processing and selective spatial attention, we conclude that any further understanding of the compensatory visual abilities in deaf individuals should face the complexity of both these aspect for deaf visual cognition.
The neural bases of multisensory processes
Boca Raton, FL
CRC Press
9781439812174
Pavani, Francesco; Bottari, Davide
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/86390
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