Cortical Activity Linked to Clocking in Deaf Adults

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Cortical Activity Linked to Clocking in Deaf Adults: fNIRS Insights with Static and Animated Stimuli Presentation.

The question of the possible impact of deafness on temporal processing remains unanswered. Different findings, based on behavioral measures, show contradictory results. The goal of the present study is to analyze the brain activity underlying time estimation by using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) techniques, which allow examination of the frontal, central and occipital cortical areas. A total of 37 participants (19 deaf) were recruited. The experimental task involved processing a road scene to determine whether the driver had time to safely execute a driving task, such as overtaking. The road scenes were presented in animated format, or in sequences of 3 static images showing the beginning, mid-point, and end of a situation. The latter presentation required a clocking mechanism to estimate the time between the samples to evaluate vehicle speed. The results show greater frontal region activity in deaf people, which suggests that more cognitive effort is needed to process these scenes. The central region, which is involved in clocking according to several studies, is particularly activated by the static presentation in deaf people during the estimation of time lapses. Exploration of the occipital region yielded no conclusive results. Our results on the frontal and central regions encourage further study of the neural basis of time processing and its links with auditory capacity.

PMID: 33562848 [PubMed]

Brain Sci. 2021 Feb 05;11(2):

Authors: Laurent S, Paire-Ficout L, Boucheix JM, Argon S, Hidalgo-Muñoz AR