Undergraduate Honors Theses

Date of Award





Dr. Blake Butler


Theories of cross-modal plasticity have explored how a certain modality can be repurposed after prolonged loss of input to support remaining modalities. This present study aimed to further understand effects of cross-modal plasticity through an investigation on individuals who have experienced auditory deprivation. Prior research has shown inconsistent results about possible visual advantages which early-deaf individuals may possess. In this study, it was hypothesized that early-deaf individuals would perform better than hearing controls in specific visual tasks, due to functional reorganization of the auditory cortex. It was expected that differential activation would show in visual and auditory cortices of early-deaf individuals over hearing controls, and that higher levels of activation would be correlated with better performance on behavioural tasks. These tasks encompassed a face matching task, a non-biological motion detection task, and a biological motion detection task. Neuroimaging data were acquired using motion and face localizers in a 3T MRI scanner. Participants of this study included 4 hearing controls. Since there were no deaf participants, unfortunately the initial hypotheses could not be tested. Instead, this experiment will be used as a pilot to address concerns in behavioural tasks and localizer data. This present study sets a framework upon which future studies can conduct research to test these hypotheses, such that the understanding of functional specificity in the human brain can be understood.

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Psychology Commons