Visual stimulation enhances auditory processing in 3-month-old infants and adults

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Abstract

Behavioral work demonstrates human infants are sensitive to a host of intersensory properties and this sensitivity promotes early learning and memory. However, little is known regarding the neural basis of this ability in infants. Using event-related potentials (ERPs) with infants and adults, we show that during passive viewing auditory evoked brain responses are increased with the presence of simultaneous visual stimulation. Results converge with previous adult neuroimaging studies, single-cell recordings in nonhuman animals, and behavioral studies with human infants to provide evidence for an elevated status of multisensory stimulation in infancy. Furthermore, these results may provide a neural marker of multisensory audio-visual processing in infants that can be used to test developmental theories of how information is integrated across the senses to form a unitary perception of the world. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 52:181–189, 2010

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