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Cassandra J. Brooks, Andrew J. Anderson, Neil W. Roach, Paul V. McGraw, Allison M. McKendrick; Age-related changes in auditory and visual interactions in temporal rate perception. Journal of Vision 2015;15(16):2. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.16.2.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We investigated how aging affects the integration of temporal rate for auditory flutter (amplitude modulation) presented with visual flicker. Since older adults were poorer at detecting auditory amplitude modulation, modulation depth was individually adjusted so that temporal rate was equally discriminable for 10 Hz flutter and flicker, thereby balancing the reliability of rate information available to each sensory modality. With age-related sensory differences normalized in this way, rate asynchrony skewed both auditory and visual rate judgments to the same extent in younger and older adults. Therefore, reliability-based weighting of temporal rate is preserved in older adults. Concurrent presentation of synchronous 10 Hz flicker and flutter improved temporal rate discrimination consistent with statistically optimal integration in younger but not older adults. In a control experiment, younger adults were presented with the same physical auditory stimulus as older adults. This time, rate asynchrony skewed perceived rate with greater auditory weighting rather than balanced integration. Taken together, our results indicate that integration of discrepant auditory and visual rates is not altered due to the healthy aging process once sensory deficits are accounted for, but that aging does abolish the minor improvement in discrimination performance seen in younger observers when concordant rates are integrated.
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