Deaf individuals use compensatory strategies to estimate visual time events

Brain Res. 2023 Jan 1:1798:148148. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2022.148148. Epub 2022 Nov 2.


Temporal perception is so profoundly linked to hearing that congenitally and early deaf individuals appear to experience visual temporal impairments. However, most studies investigated visual temporal perception in deaf individuals using static stimuli, while ecological objects with which we interact in everyday life often move across space and time. Given that deafness does not impact spatial metric representations, we hypothesize that, while the temporal perception of static stimuli is altered after early hearing loss, it can be enhanced by providing additional, ecologically relevant information. To evaluate our hypothesis, deaf and hearing participants were tested using an oddball-like visual temporal task. In such a task, participants had to temporally discriminate a Target embedded in a series of static stimuli, whose spatiotemporal structure was dynamically manipulated during the presentation. Our results highlighted that deaf participants could not successfully discriminate the Target's duration when only temporal information was manipulated, while their temporal sensitivity significantly improved when coherent spatiotemporal information was displayed. Our findings suggest that deaf individuals might develop compensatory strategies based on other visual, non-temporal features to estimate external time events.

Keywords: Deafness; Looming; Signal detection theory; Time perception.

MeSH terms

  • Deafness*
  • Hearing
  • Humans
  • Time Perception*
  • Vision, Ocular
  • Visual Perception