A1 Journal article – refereed

Blind individuals show enhanced perceptual and attentional sensitivity for identification of speech sounds




List of Authors: Hugdahl K, Ek M, Takio F, Rintee T, Tuomainen J, Haarala C, Hamalainen H

Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV

Publication year: 2004

Journal: Cognitive Brain Research

Journal name in source: COGNITIVE BRAIN RESEARCH

Journal acronym: COGNITIVE BRAIN RES

Volume number: 19

Issue number: 1

Number of pages: 5

ISSN: 0926-6410

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cogbrainres.2003.10.015


Abstract
report on enhanced processing of speech sounds in congenitally and early blind individuals compared with normally seeing individuals. Two different consonant-vowel (CV) syllables were presented via headphones on each presentation. We used a dichotic listening (DL) procedure with pairwise presentations of CV syllables. The typical finding in this paradigm is a right ear advantage, indicating better processing of the CV-syllable stimuli in the left hemisphere. The dichotic listening procedure involved three different conditions, with instructions to pay attention to the right car stimulus, the left ear stimulus or no specific instruction. The participants were 14 congenitally or early blind Finnish-speaking individuals that were compared with 129 normal seeing Finnish-speaking individuals. The blind participants reported overall significantly more correct syllables than seeing control subjects. When instructed to pay attention to the left ear stimulus and only report from the attended channel, they were again significantly better than the seeing control subjects. These findings indicate effects of hemispheric reorganization in blind individuals at both the sensory and cognitive levels of information processing in the auditory sensory modality. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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