The Neurology department at Wake Forest University have been researching how the ability or lack of ability to integrate multiple senses together can play a part in dyslexia. In Altered temporal profile of visual-auditory multisensory interactions in dyslexia :
“[W]e studied the effects of task-irrelevant auditory information on the performance of a visual temporal-order-judgment (TOJ) task. Dyslexic subjects’ performance differed significantly from that of control subjects, specifically in that they integrated the auditory and visual information over longer temporal intervals. Such a result suggests an extended temporal “window” for binding visual and auditory cues in dyslexic individuals“.
On the Wake Forest website is another article Early Experience May Shape our Sensory Perceptions, New Research Shows looking at the neurology of cats to understand how humans combine different sensory information.
“The researchers studied individual neurons in the neocortex of cats to see how they respond to sight, sound and touch. Surprisingly, they found that many of the neurons could respond to stimuli in several of these senses.
‘The neurons responses to combinations of sensory stimuli were often much greater than we predicted,’ said Wallace. ‘This suggests that these neurons have the capacity to greatly amplify their signals when confronted with stimuli from multiple senses.’
He said this finding may explain how multisensory stimuli can lead to improvements in our perceptions – such as how seeing a friend speaking across a crowded and noisy room can help us better ‘hear’ what he or she is saying.
In addition to studying these neurons in adult cats, the researchers also examined how multisensory neurons mature in the developing brain. They found that immediately after birth, multisensory neurons were not present in the neocortex. Only after several months of development did these neurons first appear, and they were strikingly immature, lacking the ability to amplify their signals. Several weeks later, these neurons began to acquire this multisensory capability“.
Sensory integration training is often used in treating autism and learning difficulties like dyslexia or ADHD and this research gives some theoretical basis to that approach. However I can’t find any published work on this research so treat the information with a pinch of salt.
- Sensory Integration
- Sensory Integration and ADHD
- Light & Sound Sensitivity Effects Readers
- Improved Perception Equals Improved Motor Skills
- The Senses of Autism