Multisensory Perception and Ageing

We have investigated the role of ageing on multisensory processes using a range of different tasks including speech perception and event perception. In our recent work, we are collaborating with the TILDA study (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing), which is a large-scale, nationally representative, longitudinal study of ageing in Ireland. TILDA involves the collection of social, lifestyle, economic, health, physiological, cognitive and neuroimaging data from a large cohort of older adults (8,500+ participants). Data collection commenced in 2009 and is currently (2021) on its sixth wave of testing.

Our current research project is funded by the Health Research Board, in collaboration with Dr. Annalisa Setti, University College Cork and Prof. Ladan Shams, University of California Los Angeles, and is aimed at providing a better understanding of the role of ageing on multisensory perception.

What are we examining?

We use the Sound Induced Flash Illusion (or SIFI; Shams et al., 2000, 2002) to examine multisensory perception in ageing. SIFI is a well-established measure of audio-visual integration.

See a GIF of Rebecca J Hirst’s presentation on the links between SIFI in ageing and specific sub-domains of cognition.

Rebecca J Hirst presenting TILDA data on the links between SIFI susceptibility in ageing and eye disease, cataract removal and hearing aid use at Psychonomics 2019 in Montreal

De Looze, C., Feeney, J. C., Scarlett, S., Hirst, R., Knight, S. P., Carey, D., … & Kenny, R. A. (2021). Sleep duration, sleep problems, and perceived stress are associated with hippocampal subfield volumes in later life: findings from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. SleepDOI

Hirst, R. J., Cassarino, M., Kenny, R. A., Newell, F. N., & Setti, A. (2021). Urban and rural environments differentially shape multisensory perception in ageing. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 1-16. DOI

Hirst, R. J., Whelan, R., Boyle, R., Setti, A., Knight, S., O’Connor, J., … & Newell, F. N. (2021). Gray matter volume in the right angular gyrus is associated with differential patterns of multisensory integration with aging. Neurobiology of Aging100, 83-90. DOI

Hirst, R. J., Setti, A., De Looze, C., Akuffo, K. O., Peto, T., Kenny, R. A., & Newell, F. N. (2020). The effect of eye disease, cataract surgery and hearing aid use on multisensory integration in ageing. Cortex133, 161-176. DOI

Hirst, R. J., Setti, A., Kenny, R. A., & Newell, F. N. (2019). Age-related sensory decline mediates the Sound-Induced Flash Illusion: Evidence for reliability weighting models of multisensory perception. Scientific Reports9(1), 1-12. DOI

Hernández, B., Setti, A., Kenny, R. A., & Newell, F. N. (2019). Individual differences in ageing, cognitive status, and sex on susceptibility to the sound-induced flash illusion: A large-scale study. Psychology and Aging34(7), 978. DOI