Our Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory is looking for people who have been blind or deaf since early childhood to participate in a research study. The study will record non-invasive measurements of brain activity while participants perform a multisensory task.
This is the first study to compare how the brain’s response to touch varies between blind, deaf, and sighted and hearing participants. We will also assess how the brain combines information from the sense of touch with visual and/or auditory information. We believe that early blind and deaf individuals may have developed special abilities to process and respond to these kinds of multisensory combinations. Understanding the way senses are combined in the visually- and hearing-impaired will help to develop more effective rehabilitative therapies and adaptive environments to facilitate daily living.
To complete the multisensory task, small vibration stimulators and LED lights will be placed on the forefinger and thumb of the participants’ hands. Two speakers will also be aligned next to their hands. Participants will be asked to respond to each stimulus by depressing a foot pedal with their right foot. The vibration will feel like vibrations from an everyday pager or cell phone.
Participants will wear a cap, similar to a swim cap, for the duration of the experiment. The cap has holes in it where electrodes are attached. These electrodes will monitor and measure the activity of the brain (also called EEG). EEG is very much like EKG used for heart monitoring; just as a tape recorder records the voice, an EEG records the brain’s activity. This is a non-invasive, pain-free procedure. Gel will be put into the electrodes to make sure there is good contact with the scalp. Participants’ hair will be washed at the end of the recording session. Putting on the cap and going over informed consent will take about 45 minutes.
Participants will be reimbursed $10/hour for their time. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Participants will take regular breaks from the experiment throughout the day. We estimate that this study will take between 6 and 7 hours. Transportation will be provided if necessary.
If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact us:
Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory
Nathan Kline Institute
140 Old Orangeburg Rd.
Orangeburg, NY 10962