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Cereb Cortex. 2011 May;21(5):1042-55. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhq170. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

The development of audiovisual multisensory integration across childhood and early adolescence: a high-density electrical mapping study.

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  • 1The Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.

Abstract

The integration of multisensory information is essential to forming meaningful representations of the environment. Adults benefit from related multisensory stimuli but the extent to which the ability to optimally integrate multisensory inputs for functional purposes is present in children has not been extensively examined. Using a cross-sectional approach, high-density electrical mapping of event-related potentials (ERPs) was combined with behavioral measures to characterize neurodevelopmental changes in basic audiovisual (AV) integration from middle childhood through early adulthood. The data indicated a gradual fine-tuning of multisensory facilitation of performance on an AV simple reaction time task (as indexed by race model violation), which reaches mature levels by about 14 years of age. They also revealed a systematic relationship between age and the brain processes underlying multisensory integration (MSI) in the time frame of the auditory N1 ERP component (∼ 120 ms). A significant positive correlation between behavioral and neurophysiological measures of MSI suggested that the underlying brain processes contributed to the fine-tuning of multisensory facilitation of behavior that was observed over middle childhood. These findings are consistent with protracted plasticity in a dynamic system and provide a starting point from which future studies can begin to examine the developmental course of multisensory processing in clinical populations.

PMID:
20847153
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3077428
Free PMC Article
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