Intersensory redundancy facilitates discrimination of tempo in 3-month-old infants

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L. Bahrick and R. Lickliter (2000) proposed an intersensory redundancy hypothesis that states that information presented redundantly and in temporal synchrony across two or more sensory modalities selectively recruits infant attention and facilitates perceptual learning more effectively than does the same information presented unimodally. In support of this view, they found that 5-month-old infants were able to differentiate between two complex rhythms when they were presented bimodally, but not unimodally. The present study extended our test of the intersensory redundancy hypothesis to younger infants and to a different amodal property. Three-month-olds' sensitivity to the amodal property of tempo was investigated. Results replicated and extended those of Bahrick and Lickliter, demonstrating that infants could discriminate a change in tempo following bimodal, but not unimodal, habituation. It appears that when infants are first learning to differentiate an amodal stimulus property, discrimination is facilitated by intersensory redundancy and attenuated under conditions of unimodal stimulation. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.



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