The Effects of Cue Reliability on Crossmodal Recalibration in Adults and Children
Reliability-based cue combination is a hallmark of multisensory integration, while the role of cue reliability for crossmodal recalibration is less understood. The present study investigated whether visual cue reliability affects audiovisual recalibration in adults and children. Participants had to localize sounds, which were presented either alone or in combination with a spatially discrepant high- or low-reliability visual stimulus. In a previous study we had shown that the ventriloquist effect (indicating multisensory integration) was overall larger in the children groups and that the shift in sound localization toward the spatially discrepant visual stimulus decreased with visual cue reliability in all groups. The present study replicated the onset of the immediate ventriloquist aftereffect (a shift in unimodal sound localization following a single exposure of a spatially discrepant audiovisual stimulus) at the age of 6–7 years. In adults the immediate ventriloquist aftereffect depended on visual cue reliability, whereas the cumulative ventriloquist aftereffect (reflecting the audiovisual spatial discrepancies over the complete experiment) did not. In 6–7-year-olds the immediate ventriloquist aftereffect was independent of visual cue reliability. The present results are compatible with the idea of immediate and cumulative crossmodal recalibrations being dissociable processes and that the immediate ventriloquist aftereffect is more closely related to genuine multisensory integration.