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Collins Opoku-Baah, Mark T. Wallace; Brief period of monocular deprivation drives changes in audiovisual temporal perception. Journal of Vision 2020;20(8):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.8.8.
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The human brain retains a striking degree of plasticity into adulthood. Recent studies have demonstrated that a short period of altered visual experience (via monocular deprivation) can change the dynamics of binocular rivalry in favor of the deprived eye, a compensatory action thought to be mediated by an upregulation of cortical gain control mechanisms. Here, we sought to better understand the impact of monocular deprivation on multisensory abilities, specifically examining audiovisual temporal perception. Using an audiovisual simultaneity judgment task, we discovered that 90 minutes of monocular deprivation produced opposing effects on the temporal binding window depending on the eye used in the task. Thus, in those who performed the task with their deprived eye there was a narrowing of the temporal binding window, whereas in those performing the task with their nondeprived eye there was a widening of the temporal binding window. The effect was short lived, being observed only in the first 10 minutes of postdeprivation testing. These findings indicate that changes in visual experience in the adult can rapidly impact multisensory perceptual processes, a finding that has important clinical implications for those patients with adult-onset visual deprivation and for therapies founded on monocular deprivation.
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