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Percept Psychophys. 1992 Nov;52(5):519-28.

Infants' responsiveness to the auditory and visual attributes of a sounding/moving stimulus.

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  • New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, Staten Island.


Responses to unimodal and multimodal attributes of a compound auditory/visual stimulus were investigated in 4-, 6-, 8-, and 10-month-old infants. First, infants were habituated to a compound stimulus consisting of a visual stimulus that moved up and down on a video monitor and a sound that occurred each time the visual stimulus reversed direction at the bottom. Once each infant met a habituation criterion, a series of test trials was administered to assess responsiveness to the components of the compound stimulus. Response was defined as the total duration of visual fixation in each trial. In the two unimodal test trials, the rate at which the component was presented was changed while the rate of the other component remained the same, whereas in the bimodal test trial the rate of both components was changed simultaneously. Results indicated that infants at each age successfully discriminated the bimodal and the two unimodal changes and that regression to the mean did not account for the results. Results also showed that disruption of the temporal relationship that accompanied the change in rate in the two unimodal test trials was also discriminable, but rate changes appeared to play a greater role in responsiveness than did synchrony changes. Considered together with results from similar prior studies, the current results are consistent with the modality appropriateness hypothesis in showing that discrimination of temporal changes in the auditory and visual modalities is dependent on the specialization of the sensory modalities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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