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Full Access The critical role of experience in the early development of multisensory perception

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The critical role of experience in the early development of multisensory perception

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For more content, see Multisensory Research and Spatial Vision.

Human infancy is a time of rapid neural and behavioral development and multisensory perceptual skills emerge during this time. Both animal and human early deprivation studies have shown that experience contributes critically to the development of multisensory perception. Unfortunately, Bodison because the human deprivation studies have only studied adult responsiveness, little is known about the more immediate effects of early experience on multisensory development. Consequently, we have embarked on a program of research to investigate how early experience affects the development of multisensory perception in human infants. To do so, we have focused on multisensory perceptual narrowing, an experience-dependent process where initially broad perceptual tuning is narrowed to match the infant’s native environment. In this talk, I first review our work demonstrating that multisensory narrowing characterizes infants’ response to non-native (i.e., monkey) faces and voices, that the initially broad tuning is present at birth, that narrowing also occurs in the audiovisual speech domain, and that multisensory narrowing is an evolutionarily novel process. In the second part of the talk, I present findings from our most recent studies indicating that experience has a seemingly paradoxical effect on infant response to audio–visual synchrony, that experience narrows infant response to amodal language and intonational prosody cues, and that experience interacts with developmental changes in selective attention during the first year of life resulting in dramatic developmental shifts in human infants’ selective attention to the eyes and mouth of their interlocutors’ talking faces.

Affiliations: 1: Florida Atlantic University, US

Human infancy is a time of rapid neural and behavioral development and multisensory perceptual skills emerge during this time. Both animal and human early deprivation studies have shown that experience contributes critically to the development of multisensory perception. Unfortunately, Bodison because the human deprivation studies have only studied adult responsiveness, little is known about the more immediate effects of early experience on multisensory development. Consequently, we have embarked on a program of research to investigate how early experience affects the development of multisensory perception in human infants. To do so, we have focused on multisensory perceptual narrowing, an experience-dependent process where initially broad perceptual tuning is narrowed to match the infant’s native environment. In this talk, I first review our work demonstrating that multisensory narrowing characterizes infants’ response to non-native (i.e., monkey) faces and voices, that the initially broad tuning is present at birth, that narrowing also occurs in the audiovisual speech domain, and that multisensory narrowing is an evolutionarily novel process. In the second part of the talk, I present findings from our most recent studies indicating that experience has a seemingly paradoxical effect on infant response to audio–visual synchrony, that experience narrows infant response to amodal language and intonational prosody cues, and that experience interacts with developmental changes in selective attention during the first year of life resulting in dramatic developmental shifts in human infants’ selective attention to the eyes and mouth of their interlocutors’ talking faces.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x648297
2012-01-01
2016-12-09

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