Atypical lateralization of memory for location: effects of deafness and sign language use

Brain Cogn. 2005 Jul;58(2):226-39. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2004.12.001. Epub 2005 Jan 28.


This paper examines the impact of auditory deprivation and sign language use on the enhancement of location memory and hemispheric specialization using two matching tasks. Forty-one deaf signers and non-signers and 51 hearing signers and non-signers were tested on location memory for shapes and objects (Study 1) and on categorical versus coordinate spatial relations (Study 2). Results of the two experiments converge to suggest that deafness alone supports the atypical left hemispheric preference in judging the location of a circle or a picture on a blank background and that deafness and sign language experience determine the superior ability of memory for location. The importance of including a sample of deaf non-signers was identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Deafness*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Sign Language*
  • Space Perception / physiology