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Description: Crossmodal plasticity refers to the reorganisation of sensory cortices in the absence of their main sensory input. Understanding this phenomenon provides insights into brain function, and its potential for change and enhancement. Using fMRI, we investigated how early deafness and consequent varied language experience influence crossmodal plasticity and the organisation of executive functions (EF) in the human brain. Results from four visual EF tasks (working memory, switching, planning, inhibition) show that, as a function of degree of deafness, deaf individuals specifically recruit “auditory” regions during task switching. This recruitment correlates with performance, highlighting its functional relevance. We also observed a recruitment of auditory temporal regions during planning, but only in deaf individuals with highest language scores, suggesting differential use of linguistic skills to support EF. Our results show executive processing in typically sensory regions, suggesting that the development and ultimate role of brain regions are influenced by perceptual environmental experience. Description taken from the abstract of our preprint:

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