Aging is an important stage of development accompanied by changes in all five sensory systems, and recent research indicates that aging influences multisensory processing, as well. This chapter reviews the current literature on aging and crossmodal interactions. There are now several reports of increased multisensory integration with advancing age, although evidence is now starting to accumulate that the probability of integration may decrease. Potential neurobiological reasons for these changes are discussed, first by addressing the bottom-up mechanisms that determine the likelihood of integration, such as space and time, and then examining the potential for changes in top-down functions like attention to alter multisensory interactions. Lastly, the importance of baseline sensory functioning to interaction of the senses is addressed.
Keywords: aging; multisensory development; multisensory integration; speed of processing; attentional control; inhibitory control
Chapter. 11307 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Cognitive Psychology
Full text: subscription required