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Psycholinguistics: Visual Processing

  • By: Rain G. Bosworth
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Humans rely on sights and sounds to gather information about the environment, so in the event of profound deafness, we often wonder how humans communicate. One idea is that the remaining visual and tactile senses are heightened or altered. A second possible effect of deafness is an extensive reliance for communication upon the visual modality, such as with American Sign Language (ASL), and in these individuals, their lifelong experience with ASL might afford them greater-than-average practice with visual processing, leading to improved visual abilities. Research suggests that the visual-processing adaptations as a result of, deafness and sign language use are specific and are accompanied by changes in brain organization as well. The specificity of these behavioral and brain changes reflects the principle that early sensory ...

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