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Older adults sacrifice response speed to preserve multisensory integration performance

Jones, Samuel A, Beierholm, Ulrik, Meijer, David and Noppeney, Uta (2019) Older adults sacrifice response speed to preserve multisensory integration performance. Neurobiology of Aging. ISSN 0197-4580 ESSN 1558-1497

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Abstract or description

Ageing has been shown to impact multisensory perception, but the underlying computational mechanisms are unclear. For effective interactions with the environment, observers should integrate signals that share a common source, weighted by their reliabilities, and segregate those from separate sources. Observers are thought to accumulate evidence about the world’s causal structure over time until a decisional threshold is reached.
Combining psychophysics and Bayesian modelling, we investigated how ageing affects audiovisual perception of spatial signals. Older and younger adults were comparable in their final localisation and common-source judgement responses under both speeded and unspeeded conditions, but were disproportionately slower for audiovisually incongruent trials.
Bayesian modelling showed that ageing did not affect the ability to arbitrate between integration and segregation under either unspeeded or speeded conditions. However, modelling the within-trial dynamics of evidence accumulation under speeded conditions revealed that older observers accumulate noisier auditory representations for longer, set higher decisional thresholds, and have impaired motor speed. Older observers preserve audiovisual localisation performance, despite noisier sensory representations, by sacrificing response speed.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology
Depositing User: Samuel JONES
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2019 13:43
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:57

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