Visual-somatosensory integration is linked to physical activity level in older adults

Kristina Dumas, Roee Holtzer, Jeannette R. Mahoney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Studies examining multisensory integration (MSI) in aging consistently demonstrate greater reaction time (RT) facilitation in old compared to young adults, but often fail to determine the utility of MSI. The aim of the current experiment was to further elucidate the utility of MSI in aging by determining its relationship to physical activity level. 147 non-demented older adults (mean age 77 years; 57% female) participated. Participants were instructed to make speeded responses to visual, somatosensory, and visual-somatosensory (VS) stimuli. Depending on the magnitude of the individualsRT facilitation, participants were classified into a MSI or NO MSI group. Physical activity was assessed using a validated physical activity scale. As predicted, RTs to VS stimuli were significantly shorter than those elicited to constituent unisensory conditions. Multisensory RT facilitation was a significant predictor of total number of physical activity days per month, with individuals in the NO MSI group reporting greater engagement in physical activities compared to those requiring greater RT facilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-29
Number of pages19
JournalMultisensory Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 14 2015


  • Multisensory integration
  • aging
  • physical activity
  • sensory processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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