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The Speed, Precision and Accuracy of Human Multisensory Perception following Changes to the Visual Sense

Garcia, SE; (2016) The Speed, Precision and Accuracy of Human Multisensory Perception following Changes to the Visual Sense. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Human adults can combine information from multiple senses to improve their perceptual judgments. Visual and multisensory experience plays an important role in the development of multisensory integration, however it is unclear to what extent changes in vision impact multisensory processing later in life. In particular, it is not known whether adults account for changes to the relative reliability of their senses, following sensory loss, treatment or training. Using psychophysical methods, this thesis studied the multisensory processing of individuals experiencing changes to the visual sense. Chapters 2 and 3 assessed whether patients implanted with a retinal prosthesis (having been blinded by a retinal degenerative disease) could use this new visual signal with non-visual information to improve their speed or precision on multisensory tasks. Due to large differences between the reliabilities of the visual and non-visual cues, patients were not always able to benefit from the new visual signal. Chapter 4 assessed whether patients with degenerative visual loss adjust the weight given to visual and non-visual cues during audio-visual localization as their relative reliabilities change. Although some patients adjusted their reliance on vision across the visual field in line with predictions based on cue relative reliability, others - patients with visual loss limited to their central visual field only - did not. Chapter 5 assessed whether training with either more reliable or less reliable visual feedback could enable normally sighted adults to overcome an auditory localization bias. Findings suggest that visual information, irrespective of reliability, can be used to overcome at least some non-visual biases. In summary, this thesis documents multisensory changes following changes to the visual sense. The results improve our understanding of adult multisensory plasticity and have implications for successful treatments and rehabilitation following sensory loss.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The Speed, Precision and Accuracy of Human Multisensory Perception following Changes to the Visual Sense
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Multisensory, vision, perception
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1508508
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