Deaf Perception: How Brain Plasticity Affects Visual Skills in Deaf Persons




Degner, Zachary Aaron

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In recent years, numerous scientific endeavors have shown that, despite traditional thinking, the brain has remarkable plasticity. Plasticity is the capability of being molded, receiving shape, or being made to assume a desired form. In other words, the brain is capable of changing itself in response to its needs and stimuli. On this basis the argument could be made that supposed “handicaps,” such as deafness, blindness, or the inability to move certain limbs, may in fact unlock hidden strengths in other areas. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether or not those who are deaf or not hearing-impaired at all, differ in their ability to read words in a variety of forms. The participants will be tested on proficiency in reading original writing, like this abstract, phonetic writing, such as “Da feesh deed sweem”, and tests on word association (quickly associating a picture of a duck with the word “duck”). The hypothesis for this thesis is that those who are born deaf, the portions of their auditory cortex dedicated to sound recognition having never been fully developed, will perform just as well, if not better, in reading regular writing, and perhaps symbolic writing, but will struggle significantly in phonetic writing, in comparison to the other two groups.



brain plasticity, deaf, visual, perception, Honors College


Degner, Z. A. (2012). Deaf perception: How brain plasticity affects visual skills in deaf persons (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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