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 EF tasks (working memory, switching, planning and inhibition) show that deaf individuals specifically recruit typical auditory regions during task switching. Neural activity in superior temporal regions, most significantly in the right hemisphere, are good predictors of behavioural performance during task switching in deaf adults, highlighting the functional relevance of the observed cortical reorganisation. Our results show components of executive processing in typically sensory regions, suggesting that the “functional destination” of brain regions is influenced by perceptual environmental experience.
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