Infants' perception of substance and temporal synchrony in multimodal events

Lorraine E. Bahrick, Florida International University


Four-month-old infants can detect a relationship between the soundtracks and films of rigid and elastic objects in motion. When movies of these two kinds of objects were shown side by side along with the soundtrack to one of them, infants predominately watched the sound films. Three subsequent studies explored the basis of this intermodal perception. It was found that infants detected bimodal temporal structure specifying object rigidity and elasticity, and temporal synchrony between the sights and sounds of object impact. These results support the view that the development of intermodal perception is based on the detection of invariant relations in visual and acoustic stimulation. © 1983.