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Neuropsychologia. 2014 Aug;61:259-68. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.06.027. Epub 2014 Jun 28.

Improving the efficiency of multisensory integration in older adults: audio-visual temporal discrimination training reduces susceptibility to the sound-induced flash illusion.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; Institute of Neuroscience, Lloyd Building, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, Ireland. Electronic address: asetti@tcd.ie.
2
School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; Institute of Neuroscience, Lloyd Building, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address: stapletj@tcd.ie.
3
School of Computer Science and Informatics, University College Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address: daniel.leahy@trilcentre.org.
4
School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address: cathal.walsh@tcd.ie.
5
School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; St. James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address: rkenny@tcd.ie.
6
School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; Institute of Neuroscience, Lloyd Building, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address: Fiona.Newell@tcd.ie.

Abstract

From language to motor control, efficient integration of information from different sensory modalities is necessary for maintaining a coherent interaction with the environment. While a number of training studies have focused on training perceptual and cognitive function, only very few are specifically targeted at improving multisensory processing. Discrimination of temporal order or coincidence is a criterion used by the brain to determine whether cross-modal stimuli should be integrated or not. In this study we trained older adults to judge the temporal order of visual and auditory stimuli. We then tested whether the training had an effect in reducing susceptibility to a multisensory illusion, the sound induced flash illusion. Improvement in the temporal order judgement task was associated with a reduction in susceptibility to the illusion, particularly at longer Stimulus Onset Asynchronies, in line with a more efficient multisensory processing profile. The present findings set the ground for more broad training programs aimed at improving older adults׳ cognitive performance in domains in which efficient temporal integration across the senses is required.

KEYWORDS:

Ageing; Audio-visual perception; Cross-modal illusions; Multisensory perception; Temporal order judgement

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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