A number of studies have investigated changes in the perception of visual motion as a result of altered sensory experiences. An animal study has shown that auditory-deprived cats exhibit enhanced performance in a visual movement detection task compared to hearing cats (Lomber, Meredith, & Kral, 2010). In humans, the behavioural evidence regarding the perception of motion is less clear. The present study investigated deaf and hearing adult participants using a movement localization task and a direction of motion task employing coherently-moving and static visual dot patterns. Overall, deaf and hearing participants did not differ in their movement localization performance, although within the deaf group, a left visual field advantage was found. When discriminating the direction of motion, however, deaf participants responded faster and tended to be more accurate when detecting small differences in direction compared with the hearing controls. These results conform to the view that visual abilities are enhanced after auditory deprivation and extend previous findings regarding visual motion processing in deaf individuals.
Keywords: cross-modal plasticity; deafness; direction of motion; localization of motion.