In search of the mechanisms of multisensory development

Denis Mareschal, Gert Westermann and Nadja Althaus

in Multisensory Development

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586059
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741470 | DOI:
In search of the mechanisms of multisensory development

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This chapter asks how multisensory perception can develop. That is, what are the mechanisms by which separate modalities become differentiated and integrated during the first years of life? This chapter argues that computer models provide a powerful tool for answering these questions. The chapter begins by describing the role of computational modelling in understanding causal mechanisms of developmental change, going on to characterise connectionist neural network models as a family of modelling approaches that is particularly well suited for studying learning and development. In the next three sections the chapter illustrates how neural network models have been used to grapple with how pair-wise multisensory (and likewise, sensorimotor) integration develops beginning with auditory-visual, then auditory-motor, and then finally visual-motor coupling. Finally, the chapter reviews our findings and point to some challenges for future research.

Keywords: multisensory development; computational modelling; connectionist models; developmental change; self-organising nets

Chapter.  9853 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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