In search of the mechanisms of multisensory development
Mareschal D., Westermann G., Althaus N.
© Oxford University Press 2012. All rights reserved. This chapter asks how multisensory perception can develop. That is, what are the mechanisms by which separate modalities become differentiated and integrated during the first years of life? This chapter argues that computer models provide a powerful tool for answering these questions. The chapter begins by describing the role of computational modelling in understanding causal mechanisms of developmental change, going on to characterise connectionist neural network models as a family of modelling approaches that is particularly well suited for studying learning and development. In the next three sections the chapter illustrates how neural network models have been used to grapple with how pair-wise multisensory (and likewise, sensorimotor) integration develops beginning with auditory-visual, then auditory-motor, and then finally visualmotor coupling. Finally, the chapter reviews our findings and point to some challenges for future research.