Reduced audiovisual recalibration in the elderly

Yu Man Chan, Michael J Pianta, Allison M McKendrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Perceived synchrony of visual and auditory signals can be altered by exposure to a stream of temporally offset stimulus pairs. Previous literature suggests that adapting to audiovisual temporal offsets is an important recalibration to correctly combine audiovisual stimuli into a single percept across a range of source distances. Healthy aging results in synchrony perception over a wider range of temporally offset visual and auditory signals, independent of age-related unisensory declines in vision and hearing sensitivities. However, the impact of aging on audiovisual recalibration is unknown. Audiovisual synchrony perception for sound-lead and sound-lag stimuli was measured for 15 younger (22-32 years old) and 15 older (64-74 years old) healthy adults using a method-of-constant-stimuli, after adapting to a stream of visual and auditory pairs. The adaptation pairs were either synchronous or asynchronous (sound-lag of 230 ms). The adaptation effect for each observer was computed as the shift in the mean of the individually fitted psychometric functions after adapting to asynchrony. Post-adaptation to synchrony, the younger and older observers had average window widths (±standard deviation) of 326 (±80) and 448 (±105) ms, respectively. There was no adaptation effect for sound-lead pairs. Both the younger and older observers, however, perceived more sound-lag pairs as synchronous. The magnitude of the adaptation effect in the older observers was not correlated with how often they saw the adapting sound-lag stimuli as asynchronous. Our finding demonstrates that audiovisual synchrony perception adapts less with advancing age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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