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When vision is not an option : children's integration of auditory and haptic information is suboptimal.

Petrini, K. and Remark, A. and Smith, L. and Nardini, M. (2014) 'When vision is not an option : children's integration of auditory and haptic information is suboptimal.', Developmental science., 17 (3). pp. 376-387.


When visual information is available, human adults, but not children, have been shown to reduce sensory uncertainty by taking a weighted average of sensory cues. In the absence of reliable visual information (e.g. extremely dark environment, visual disorders), the use of other information is vital. Here we ask how humans combine haptic and auditory information from childhood. In the first experiment, adults and children aged 5 to 11 years judged the relative sizes of two objects in auditory, haptic, and non-conflicting bimodal conditions. In 'Experiment 2', different groups of adults and children were tested in non-conflicting and conflicting bimodal conditions. In 'Experiment 1', adults reduced sensory uncertainty by integrating the cues optimally, while children did not. In 'Experiment 2', adults and children used similar weighting strategies to solve audio–haptic conflict. These results suggest that, in the absence of visual information, optimal integration of cues for discrimination of object size develops late in childhood.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2014 The Authors. Developmental Science Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Date accepted:19 August 2013
Date deposited:12 January 2015
Date of first online publication:25 February 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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