Chapter

The unexpected effects of experience on the development of multisensory perception in primates

David J. Lewkowicz

in Multisensory Development

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586059
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741470 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586059.003.0007
The unexpected effects of experience on the development of multisensory perception in primates

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This chapter reviews what is currently known about the development of audiovisual perception in infancy and shows that the ability to perceive multisensory coherence takes time to emerge. In addition, recent findings are reviewed that show for the first time that experience contributes in an unexpected, but critical, way to the emergence of multisensory perceptual skills in human infants and developing monkeys. These data demonstrate that young infants are broadly tuned to multisensory inputs and that, as a result, they treat audiovisual inputs as coherent regardless of whether they represent a native or a non-native species or a native or nonnative language. Furthermore, these findings indicate that multisensory perceptual tuning narrows during the first year of life and that, as it does, the ability to perceive multisensory coherence of non-native signals declines. Finally, these findings suggest that multisensory perceptual narrowing may be a recent evolutionary phenomenon because young vervet monkey infants do not exhibit narrowing and, thus, continue to perceive the coherence of the faces and vocalizations of another species.

Keywords: multisensory development; perceptual narrowing; face perception; speech perception; multisensory perceptual narrowing

Chapter.  13419 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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