Multisensory contributions to object recognition and memory across the lifespan
AUTHORS: Matusz PJ, Wallace MT, Murray MM
Multisensory Perception: From Laboratory to Clinic, : 135-154, 2020
Everyday environments, such as classrooms or the High Street, typically stimulate multiple senses at once (i.e., are multisensory). Evidence from the last 40 years has characterized how multisensory perception unfolds and manifests neurophysiologically. However, a large majority of this research has focused on the effects of multisensory processes on instantaneous perception. This omission is important inasmuch as learning in multisensory settings is a rule rather than an exception. Furthermore, it is increasingly recognized that object representations are inherently multisensory in nature. This chapter reviews efforts to understand when and how multisensory information improves learning and memory, particularly in the context of single-trial encoding that emulates real-world settings. This chapter bridges multisensory findings and the more traditional, unisensory literature on object representations and provides a tentative roadmap for more scientifically based utilization of multisensory processes toward improving two crucial domains of everyday life, i.e., education and rehabilitation of sensory and cognitive functions.