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Bayes-like integration of a new sensory skill with vision.

Negen, James and Wen, Lisa and Thaler, Lore and Nardini, Marko (2018) 'Bayes-like integration of a new sensory skill with vision.', Scientific reports., 8 . p. 16880.


Humans are effective at dealing with noisy, probabilistic information in familiar settings. One hallmark of this is Bayesian Cue Combination: combining multiple noisy estimates to increase precision beyond the best single estimate, taking into account their reliabilities. Here we show that adults also combine a novel audio cue to distance, akin to human echolocation, with a visual cue. Following two hours of training, subjects were more precise given both cues together versus the best single cue. This persisted when we changed the novel cue’s auditory frequency. Reliability changes also led to a re-weighting of cues without feedback, showing that they learned something more flexible than a rote decision rule for specific stimuli. The main findings replicated with a vibrotactile cue. These results show that the mature sensory apparatus can learn to flexibly integrate new sensory skills. The findings are unexpected considering previous empirical results and current models of multisensory learning.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date accepted:22 October 2018
Date deposited:16 November 2018
Date of first online publication:15 November 2018
Date first made open access:16 November 2018

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