During development internal models of the sensory world must be acquired which have to be continuously adapted later. We used event-related potentials (ERP) to test the hypothesis that infants extract crossmodal statistics implicitly while adults learn them when task relevant. Participants were passively exposed to frequent standard audio-visual combinations (A1V1, A2V2, p=0.35 each), rare recombinations of these standard stimuli (A1V2, A2V1, p=0.10 each), and a rare audio-visual deviant with infrequent auditory and visual elements (A3V3, p=0.10). While both six-month-old infants and adults differentiated between rare deviants and standards involving early neural processing stages only infants were sensitive to crossmodal statistics as indicated by a late ERP difference between standard and recombined stimuli. A second experiment revealed that adults differentiated recombined and standard combinations when crossmodal combinations were task relevant. These results demonstrate a heightened sensitivity for crossmodal statistics in infants and a change in learning mode from infancy to adulthood.
- Brigitte Röder
- Brigitte Röder
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Parents (Experiment 1a) and participants (Experiment 1b/2a/2b) gave their written consent and were informed about their right to abort the experiment at any time. All experiments were performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki in 1964. The procedure was approved by the ethics board of the German Psychological Society (DGPs).
- Sabine Kastner, Princeton University, United States
© 2017, Rohlf et al.
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