Aging effect on audiovisual integrative processing in spatial discrimination task

Zhi ZOU, Bolton K. H. CHAU, Kin-Hung TING, Che Hin Chetwyn CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Multisensory integration is an essential process that people employ daily, from conversing in social gatherings to navigating the nearby environment. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of aging on modulating multisensory integrative processes using event-related potential (ERP), and the validity of the study was improved by including “noise” in the contrast conditions. Older and younger participants were involved in perceiving visual and/or auditory stimuli that contained spatial information. The participants responded by indicating the spatial direction (far vs. near and left vs. right) conveyed in the stimuli using different wrist movements. electroencephalograms (EEGs) were captured in each task trial, along with the accuracy and reaction time of the participants’ motor responses. Older participants showed a greater extent of behavioral improvements in the multisensory (as opposed to unisensory) condition compared to their younger counterparts. Older participants were found to have fronto-centrally distributed super-additive P2, which was not the case for the younger participants. The P2 amplitude difference between the multisensory condition and the sum of the unisensory conditions was found to correlate significantly with performance on spatial discrimination. The results indicated that the age-related effect modulated the integrative process in the perceptual and feedback stages, particularly the evaluation of auditory stimuli. Audiovisual (AV) integration may also serve a functional role during spatial-discrimination processes to compensate for the compromised attention function caused by aging. Copyright © 2017 Zou, Chau, Ting and Chan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number374
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


Zou, Z., Chau, B. K. H., Ting, K.-H., & Chan, C. C. H. (2017). Aging effect on audiovisual integrative processing in spatial discrimination task. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9. Retrieved from


  • Aging
  • ERP
  • Spatial discrimination
  • Sensory integration
  • Multisensory


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