Monroy, C., Shafto, C., Castellanos, I. Bergeson, T .& Houston, D. |2019| Visual habituation in deaf and hearing infants|PLoS ONE |14|2|| e0209265| https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209265
A study involving researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center aimed to compare visual habituation in infants with prelingual hearing loss and infants with typical hearing. Habituation is one of the earliest cognitive processes to emerge in development.
By testing 23 young infants prior to the onset of advanced language development, alongside a control group of hearing infants. they also intended to add to the discussion of whether performance differences in deaf children may be due to domain-general processing or language experiences.
Early cognitive development relies on the sensory experiences that infants acquire as they explore their environment. Atypical experience in one sensory modality from birth may result in fundamental differences in general cognitive abilities. The primary aim of the current study was to compare visual habituation in infants with profound hearing loss, prior to receiving cochlear implants (CIs), and age-matched peers with typical hearing. Two complementary measures of cognitive function and attention maintenance were assessed: the length of time to habituate to a visual stimulus, and look-away rate during habituation. Findings revealed that deaf infants were slower to habituate to a visual stimulus and demonstrated a lower look-away rate than hearing infants. For deaf infants, habituation measures correlated with language outcomes on standardized assessments before cochlear implantation. These findings are consistent with prior evidence suggesting that habituation and look-away rates reflect efficiency of information processing and may suggest that deaf infants take longer to process visual stimuli relative to the hearing infants. Taken together, these findings are consistent with the hypothesis that hearing loss early in infancy influences aspects of general cognitive functioning.
The full article is available to download from PLOS One
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