STIMULUS COMPLEXITY, AGE, AND INTERSENSORY INTEGRATION
This study investigated the relationship of intersensory integration to the complexity of stimuli presented and the age of the child. The study compared the performance of 72 six and ten-year-old children on intra- and cross-modal comparison tasks in vision and touch. The effects of alteration of stimulus demands (length vs. shape) on the pattern of relationship between the individual senses and the cross-modal function were explored. The effects of age on the efficacy of cross-modal performance were also examined.;It was hypothesized that given increasing complexity in stimuli, the nature of intersensory integration changes such that performance is limited by performance in the less effective sense system (touch). It was also hypothesized that with unidimensional stimulus variation there occurs a developmental shift with age from inferior to superior cross-modal performance relative to unimodal performance.;The data do not support the central hypotheses of this study. Utilization of more complex (shape) stimuli did not result in increasing dependency of cross-modal performance on the sense of touch. For unidimensional (length) comparison tasks, there was significant improvement for both visual and tactual performance, but not for cross-modal performance with age.;The data yielded no shift to better cross- than within-model performance with age. Visual performance was superior with cross-modal performance for unidimensional stimuli equally as poor as tactual performance for both six and ten year olds. Results for shape comparisons are similar with cross-modal judgments being intermediate in accuracy between vision and touch across both ages.;The data were seen as supportive of Birch's position that intersensory integration shows a developmental path that is independent of the senses which it serves.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 43-04, Section: B, page: 1278.