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Perceptual Development: Intermodal Perception

  • By: Lorraine E. Bahrick & Robert Lickliter
  • In: Encyclopedia of Perception
  • Edited by: E. Bruce Goldstein
  • Subject:Sensation & Perception

Speaking faces, baking bread, speeding cars—the world provides a richly structured, continuously changing stream of stimulation to all of our senses. Intermodal perception (also called intersensory or multimodal perception) refers to perception of information from objects or events available to multiple senses simultaneously. Because most objects and events can be seen, heard, and touched, everyday perception is primarily intermodal. Despite the fact that information about the world is carried through different sensory channels that each provide distinct forms of stimulation, we are able to perceive a stable world of unitary objects and events (people speaking, cars honking), rather than separate sights, sounds, and tactile impressions. The senses work together as a coordinated perceptual system, even in newborns, and intermodal perception develops rapidly and with increasing ...

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