Visuotactile temporal order judgments in ageing.
Poliakoff E., Shore DI., Lowe C., Spence C.
We report an experiment on the effects of ageing on crossmodal temporal perception. Young (mean age = 21.7 years) and old (mean age = 75.1 years) participants were presented with pairs of visual and vibrotactile stimuli to either hand and required to make unspeeded temporal order judgments (TOJs) regarding which sensory modality appeared to have been presented first. The stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between the two stimuli was varied using the method of constant stimuli. Temporal precision, as indexed by the just noticeable difference (JND), was better (i.e., JNDs were lower) when the stimuli were presented from different positions (M = 101 ms) rather than from the same position (M = 120 ms), as has been demonstrated previously. Additionally, older observers required more time (i.e., their JNDs were larger) to accurately perceive the temporal order (M = 131 ms) as compared to younger observers (M = 98 ms). Our results confirm that ageing deleteriously affects crossmodal temporal processing even when the spatial confound inherent in previous research has been ruled out.