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Age-Related Changes to Multisensory Integration and Audiovisual Speech Perception

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Article number1126
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/07/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Brain Sciences
Issue number8
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Multisensory integration is essential for the quick and accurate perception of our environment, particularly in everyday tasks like speech perception. Research has highlighted the importance of investigating bottom-up and top-down contributions to multisensory integration and how these change as a function of ageing. Specifically, perceptual factors like the temporal binding window and cognitive factors like attention and inhibition appear to be fundamental in the integration of visual and auditory information—integration that may become less efficient as we age. These factors have been linked to brain areas like the superior temporal sulcus, with neural oscillations in the alpha-band frequency also being implicated in multisensory processing. Age-related changes in multisensory integration may have significant consequences for the well-being of our increasingly ageing population, affecting their ability to communicate with others and safely move through their environment; it is crucial that the evidence surrounding this subject continues to be carefully investigated. This review will discuss research into age-related changes in the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms of multisensory integration and the impact that these changes have on speech perception and fall risk. The role of oscillatory alpha activity is of particular interest, as it may be key in the modulation of multisensory integration.