Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Document Type


First Advisor

Daniel Koo

Second Advisor

Lorna C. Quandt


What is the neurobiological underpinning of communicative actions? Studies have suggested that the same neural network of imitation is involved in producing communicative actions, regardless if the persons expressing communicative actions are deaf signers or hearing nonsigners. Through neuroimaging method and analysis, we can observe if experience with communicative actions leads to any differences in the neural processing of the one and two handed ASL signs in deaf signers and hearing non-signers. The results indicate that the posterior right parietal region of the brain shows a significant difference in activity during imitation of one handed and two handed ASL signs in deaf signers. However, no significant differences were found between deaf signers and hearing nonsigners’ one and two handed sign imitation. Some of the possible factors that drive the significant and lack of differences in imitation of communicative actions are presented.



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