About this Research Topic
It is well known that our perceptual and cognitive abilities are strictly dependent on our sensory experience across the lifespan. A powerful tool for understanding the role of sensory experience on behavior is the case of sensory deprivation. Sensory deprivation in one modality (e.g. vision) can have striking effects not only on the development of the remaining modalities but also on the acquisition of competences typically acquired through the missing sensory input (e.g. spatial competence for visual deprivation). Although several studies have provided convincing evidence of the existence of both enhanced and compromised capabilities following sensory deprivation, there is still much debate about how specific aspects of sensory deprivation (i.e. timing of sensory loss or rehabilitation strategies after sensory loss) contribute to specific behavioral and cerebral changes in human and animal models. Understanding how sensory deprivation impacts on our behavior is crucial for two main reasons: from a scientific point of view, it allows to understand the plastic mechanisms that subtend compensatory and non-compensatory strategies in sensory deprived people; from a clinical point of view, it gives an insight into how to restore lost sensory inputs by implants or other techniques and into how to boost weak perceptual and cognitive skills resulting from sensory loss. Specifically, in the context of spatial and temporal perception, the following questions still need scientific investigation:
• which mechanisms lead to adaptive and maladaptive outcomes at the behavioral and neural level after a sensory deprivation?;
• which strategies can be adopted to improve maladaptive outcomes following sensory deprivation?
• which aspects of sensory deprivation (i.e. onset, severity) impacts on plasticity mechanisms and compensatory functions?
The interest of the present Research Topic is to provide new insights about the effects of sensory deprivation on spatial and temporal perception as well as the behavioral and cerebral modifications following the adoption of training protocols intended to improve spatial and temporal perception after sensory deprivation.
Authors are encouraged to submit papers regarding behavioral, electrophysiological and neuroimaging evidences related to the influence of sensory deprivation on spatial and temporal perception in humans and/or in animals. Empirical and review research studies are both welcome. Papers with a specific focus on development and sensory deprivation in childhood will be favored, with the intention of raising awareness on the need to identify and adopt in the first years of life adequate training intervention to boost residual abilities after sensory loss.
Keywords: plasticity, sensory deprivation, space, time
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