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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Auditory-visual integration of temporal relations in infants Humphrey, Gary Keith


Three experiments examined auditory-visual integration of temporal relations by infants. In the first experiment infants of 3, 6 and 10 months of age were placed midway between two flashing visual displays. Tones, temporally synchronized to one of the visual displays, emanated from concealed speakers placed midway between the visual displays directly in front of the infants. The visual displays, and corresponding tones differed in temporal rate by a factor of four. No evidence was found for differential looking to the sound-specified visual pattern in any of the three age levels tested. The 3-month-olds showed a strong right-looking bias regardless of visual pattern or temporal rate of the tone, while the 10-month-olds preferred to look at the fast visual pattern regardless of position or tone rate. Both of these biases impaired the effectiveness of the simultaneous presentation paradigm to detect differential looking related to auditory-visual synchrony. Experiments II and III used an habituation methodology which eliminated any effects of position and rate bias. Only 4-month-old infants were tested. In each experiment, one group of infants was first presented with temporally synchronous auditory and visual signals during habituation trials and then nonsynchronous signals during recovery trials. Two other groups of infants, one in each experiment, received the opposite sequence. In Experiment II the auditory and visual signals were spatially congruous, but they were separated by 90° in Experiment III. Since the pulse rate of the visual stimuli was changed for the nonsynchronous trials, a control group was tested which received only the light during habituation and recovery trials. Both groups initially presented with synchronous signals showed habituation and recovery. Neither group presented with nonsynchronous stimuli during habituation trials demonstrated recovery and only the group with the spatially separated sources habituated. The results suggest that 4-month-old infants are able to coordinate the temporal relations between auditory and visual signals.

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