Multisensory Integration
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Multisensory Integration
Multisensory integration can be defined as the interplay between the senses. Vision, the dominant sense, interacts with the auditory system in every experience. Auditory stimuli trigger attention to a visual scene, while a visual representation of space allows us to localize sounds. Visual stimuli can facilitate the detection of auditory ones, and vice versa. Following the loss of one sense, the brain undergoes a great deal of functional reorganization with one sense taking over the functions of the sense that is lost. In visually-impaired individuals, auditory and tactile stimuli are used to map a visual scene. In auditorily-impaired individuals, visual stimuli are used for speech perception and comprehension.
Visual and auditory communicate with each other and show a great deal of similarities. For instance, auditory scene analysis mirrors visual Gestalts such as figure-and-ground perception.
Recent research showed that multisensory associations can be beneficial for older adults, improving their learning and memory.
Multisensory integration can be observed directly in individuals with synaesthesia: ancient Greek (syn), "together" and (aisthesis), "sensation". Synaesthesia is the involuntary physical experience of a multisensory perception, joining together of sensations that are normally experienced separately. The most common form of synaesthesia is grapheme-colour synaesthesia - the perception of numbers and letters as colored.

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