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Full Access The interplay between multisensory integration and attention in children

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The interplay between multisensory integration and attention in children

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For more content, see Multisensory Research and Spatial Vision.

In adults, it is well known that multisensory processes can be modulated by attention, however, little is understood about the development of this interplay. This study investigated the relationship between multisensory integration and attention in children. The Tests of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA-Ch) was used to assess visual attention (Sky Search subscale), sustained auditory attention (Score DT subscale) and audio–visual attention (Sky Search DT subscale, i.e., Sky Search and Score DT combined) in 59 children (age range: 7–12 years). The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children — Fourth Edition — Australian (WISC-IV) was used to measure general intellectual abilities. Multisensory integration was gauged using the stream-bounce illusion (SBI). Participants were presented with two discs moving horizontally toward each other either with no sound or with a click sound at −400 ms, −250 ms, 0 ms, +250 ms, +400 ms relative to the time of collision of the two discs. The perception of the SBI significantly increased when the sound was presented at or near the time of collision. Correlation analyses showed that both age ( r = 0 . 24 , p < 0 . 05 ) and measures of auditory sustained attention (Score SD, r = 0 . 22 , p < 0 . 05 ) significantly predicted the SBI. Furthermore, children with high Score DT measures (age standardised scores > 11, n = 23 ) reported significantly more SBIs, even when the effects of age and IQ were controlled for, when compared with children in the low score range (age standardised scores < 9, n = 15 ). These findings suggest that multisensory integration in children is partly dependent on the stability of sustained auditory attention.

Affiliations: 1: 1Bionics Institute & Florey Neuroscience Institutes, University of Melbourne, AU; 2: 2La Trobe University, AU; 3: 3Bionics Institute, AU

In adults, it is well known that multisensory processes can be modulated by attention, however, little is understood about the development of this interplay. This study investigated the relationship between multisensory integration and attention in children. The Tests of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA-Ch) was used to assess visual attention (Sky Search subscale), sustained auditory attention (Score DT subscale) and audio–visual attention (Sky Search DT subscale, i.e., Sky Search and Score DT combined) in 59 children (age range: 7–12 years). The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children — Fourth Edition — Australian (WISC-IV) was used to measure general intellectual abilities. Multisensory integration was gauged using the stream-bounce illusion (SBI). Participants were presented with two discs moving horizontally toward each other either with no sound or with a click sound at −400 ms, −250 ms, 0 ms, +250 ms, +400 ms relative to the time of collision of the two discs. The perception of the SBI significantly increased when the sound was presented at or near the time of collision. Correlation analyses showed that both age ( r = 0 . 24 , p < 0 . 05 ) and measures of auditory sustained attention (Score SD, r = 0 . 22 , p < 0 . 05 ) significantly predicted the SBI. Furthermore, children with high Score DT measures (age standardised scores > 11, n = 23 ) reported significantly more SBIs, even when the effects of age and IQ were controlled for, when compared with children in the low score range (age standardised scores < 9, n = 15 ). These findings suggest that multisensory integration in children is partly dependent on the stability of sustained auditory attention.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x648323
2012-01-01
2016-12-09

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