Development of Temporal Visual Selective Attention in Deaf Children (Funding Source: NSF BCS 1550988 (PI: Matthew Dye))

Determining the effect of hearing loss on the development of visual functions is complicated by its corresponding impact on language development. To date, developmental studies of visual functions have either recruited deaf children with delayed (spoken) language exposure, or deaf children who are native users of a signed language. Those studies have also been cross-sectional (with just one exception), and have often lacked the sample sizes needed to draw developmental conclusions. The study proposed here overcomes many of the limitations of these previous studies. The deaf children to be recruited will vary in both their hearing loss (from severe to profound) and their exposure to language (from native to late learners of American Sign Language). A longitudinal design maximizes statistical power and will allow a moderation analysis that permits statistical conclusions about the influence of hearing loss and language background on the development of temporal visual selective attention. In addition, the recruitment of multiple cohorts in an accelerated longitudinal design will provide developmental data covering the 6- to 15-year old age range in just 2-3 years. Consequently, the proposed research will advance our understanding of how early sensory and linguistic experience impact cognitive development.