Multi-sensory training: Faster learning

August 15, 2006

U.S. scientists from Boston University and UCLA say the use of multi-sensory training programs helps people improve low-level perceptual task learning.

The research technique engages more than one of the senses and results in significantly faster improvement than methods using only one stimulus.

The researchers say their study demonstrates that stimuli involving both vision and hearing can be combined to produce speedier learning of visual information. It also suggests that multi-sensory training programs may be more effective for adults learning new skills -- such as discriminating differences between highly similar objects, or finding an item in cluttered scene.

The study's lead investigator -- Boston University Assistant Professor of Psychology Aaron Seitz -- says the traditional belief among neuroscientists is that the five senses operate largely as independent systems. But, says Seitz, mounting data suggest interactions between vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste are the rule, rather than the exception, when it comes to how the human brain processes sensory information and thus perceives things.

The study was detailed recently in the journal Current Biology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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