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Does Congenital Deafness Affect the Structural and Functional Architecture of Primary Visual Cortex?

Smittenaar, CR; MacSweeney, M; Sereno, MI; Schwarzkopf, DS; (2016) Does Congenital Deafness Affect the Structural and Functional Architecture of Primary Visual Cortex? Open Neuroimaging Journal , 10 pp. 1-19. 10.2174/1874440001610010001. Green open access

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Abstract

Deafness results in greater reliance on the remaining senses. It is unknown whether the cortical architecture of the intact senses is optimized to compensate for lost input. Here we performed widefield population receptive field (pRF) mapping of primary visual cortex (V1) with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in hearing and congenitally deaf participants, all of whom had learnt sign language after the age of 10 years. We found larger pRFs encoding the peripheral visual field of deaf compared to hearing participants. This was likely driven by larger facilitatory center zones of the pRF profile concentrated in the near and far periphery in the deaf group. pRF density was comparable between groups, indicating pRFs overlapped more in the deaf group. This could suggest that a coarse coding strategy underlies enhanced peripheral visual skills in deaf people. Cortical thickness was also decreased in V1 in the deaf group. These findings suggest deafness causes structural and functional plasticity at the earliest stages of visual cortex.

Type: Article
Title: Does Congenital Deafness Affect the Structural and Functional Architecture of Primary Visual Cortex?
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.2174/1874440001610010001
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874440001610010001
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Smittenaar et al. This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/legalcode), which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
Keywords: Deafness, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), peripheral visual field (PVF), primary visual cortex (V1)
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1481591
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