Topographic mapping of the cerebral cortex of 79 deaf children and a group of matched hearing children was performed, using measures of electroencephalographic coherence, phase, and power. Deaf children manifested higher coherence and lower phase in certain left hemispheric areas, suggesting less neural differentiation; but lower coherence and higher phase in certain right hemispheric areas, suggesting greater differentiation. Deaf children had higher total power in bilateral frontal cortex than did hearing children. The data also suggested compensatory functioning in the visual cortex of the deaf subjects. The pattern of results varied somewhat in relation to cause of deafness. These findings support the hypothesis that prelingual deafness results in a partial reorganization of cerebral cortex.
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