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Multisensory convergence of visual and haptic object preference across development.


ABSTRACT: Visuohaptic inputs offer redundant and complementary information regarding an object?s geometrical structure. The integration of these inputs facilitates object recognition in adults. While the ability to recognize objects in the environment both visually and haptically develops early on, the development of the neural mechanisms for integrating visual and haptic object shape information remains unknown. In the present study, we used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in three groups of participants, 4 to 5.5 year olds, 7 to 8.5 year olds, and adults. Participants were tested in a block design involving visual exploration of two-dimensional images of common objects and real textures, and haptic exploration of their three-dimensional counterparts. As in previous studies, object preference was defined as a greater BOLD response for objects than textures. The analyses specifically target two sites of known visuohaptic convergence in adults: the lateral occipital tactile-visual region (LOtv) and intraparietal sulcus (IPS). Results indicated that the LOtv is involved in visuohaptic object recognition early on. More importantly, object preference in the LOtv became increasingly visually dominant with development. Despite previous reports that the lateral occipital complex (LOC) is adult-like by 8 years, these findings indicate that at least part of the LOC is not. Whole-brain maps showed overlap between adults and both groups of children in the LOC. However, the overlap did not build incrementally from the younger to the older group, suggesting that visuohaptic object preference does not develop in an additive manner. Taken together, the results show that the development of neural substrates for visuohaptic recognition is protracted compared to substrates that are primarily visual or haptic.

SUBMITTER: Joanne Jao R 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4020146 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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