Aging and Unisensory Influence of Multisensory Processing

Grant Start Date: 2007-05-01
Grant End Date: 2010-04-30

Principal Investigator:
Ann M. Peiffer, Ph.D.

Funded By:

Grant Numbers:

In order to develop effective multisensory interventions that could be clinically effective for older adults, a better understanding of the mechanisms by which multisensory integration is enhanced is needed. To do this, behavioral and brain imaging experiments proposed here are designed to investigate whether increased multisensory integration in older adults is related to differences in specific stimulus driven perception (i.e., unisensory resolution) or to changes in the neural substrate underlying multisensory processing (e.g. signal to noise changes, atrophy). The specific aims of the project are as follows:

  1. In young (18-34 years old) and older (65-90 years old) individuals, assess multisensory behavioral gains in accuracy utilizing unisensory stimuli equally perceived in both age groups (normalized for age-related sensory decline) and stimuli of specific intensity (typically perceived better in young than old);
  2. Use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the neural correlates of increased multisensory integration in older adults considering known unisensory declines; and
  3. Evaluate the relationship between age-related changes in grey matter volume and the unisensory and multisensory blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) response.


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