Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study shows combination of sight and sound helps adults learn basic visual tasks more rapidly

17.08.2006
Multi-sensory approach suggests adult perceptual systems can be modified

Researchers from Boston University (BU) and UCLA have found that using multi-sensory training programs, a research technique that engages more than one of the senses, helps adults improve their performance of low-level perceptual tasks – such as visually detecting the motion of an object – significantly faster than methods that use only one stimulus.

The study, published in a recent issue of Current Biology, demonstrates that using stimuli that involve both vision and hearing can be combined to produce speedier learning of visual information and suggest that multi-sensory training programs may be more effective for adults learning new skills – such as discriminating differences between highly similar objects, or finding an item in cluttered scene.

According to Aaron Seitz, a research assistant professor of psychology at BU and lead investigator of the study, the traditional belief among neuroscientists is that the five senses operate largely as independent systems. However, mounting data suggests that interactions between vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste are the rule rather than the exception when it comes to how the human brain processes sensory information and thus perceives things.

Using this as their basis, Seitz and his colleagues, Robyn Kym and Ladan Shams of UCLA, set out to determine if engaging both the eyes and ears can help people learn to identify patterns of motion more rapidly.

Using a specially-designed computer program, the team tested how accurately subjects could recognize whether or not dots were moving across the screen in a coherent pattern. One group of participants saw just the dots while a second group also heard a sound moving in coordination with the motion of the dots.

"We showed subjects a series of screens – each for about half of a second. In half of the screens, the dots were moving randomly. The other half contained a few dots moving in a particular direction, in this case either left or right, hidden among a bunch of randomly moving dots," explained Seitz. "We then asked the subjects to report which screens in the series they thought contained dots that were moving coherently as well as in which direction they were going."

Participants were trained on the same series of screens for 10 days and the data indicate that individuals who saw the dots accompanied by a sound learned more quickly to correctly decipher the coherent movement and course of the dots and reached near peak performance on their third day of training. Individuals trained in silence failed to reach that same level of performance even after 10 days of training.

"While all subjects did show improvement, the audiovisual group learned much faster and showed better rates of retention from session to session compared to the group that received visual signals alone," said Seitz.

While it may sound obvious that both seeing and hearing cues resulted in faster learning, the benefits of the multi-sensory training surprised the team.

"Learning how to perceive motion is thought to be controlled by lower-level functions of vision believed to be largely "fixed" or unchangeable after critical periods of development during the first few years of life," explained Seitz. "And the fact that hearing benefits this low-level visual learning is rather surprising. What our results demonstrate is that with the right training paradigms, you can actually achieve alterations in adult perceptual systems."

Kira Edler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>