Intra- versus intermodal integration in young and older adults

Brent P. Spehar, Nancy Tye-Murray, Mitchell S. Sommers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The ability to integrate information across sensory channels is critical for both within- and between-modality speech processing. The present study evaluated the hypothesis that inter- and intramodal integration abilities are related, in young and older adults. Further, the investigation asked if intramodal integration (auditory+auditory), and intermodal integration (auditory+visual) resist changes as a function of either aging or the presence of hearing loss. Three groups of adults (young with normal hearing, older with normal hearing, and older with hearing loss) were asked to identify words in sentence context. Intramodal integration ability was assessed by presenting disjoint passbands of speech (550-750 and 1650-2250 Hz) to either ear. Integration was indexed by factoring monotic from dichotic scores to control for potential hearing- or age-related influences on absolute performance. Intermodal integration ability was assessed by presenting the auditory and visual signals. Integration was indexed by a measure based on probabilistic models of auditory-visual integration, termed integration enhancement. Results suggested that both types of integration ability are largely resistant to changes with age and hearing loss. In addition, intra- and intermodal integration were shown to be not correlated. As measured here, these findings suggest that there is not a common mechanism that accounts for both inter- and intramodal integration performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2858-2866
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008


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