Recent work with both avian and mammalian species has demonstrated that the sequential onset of functioning of the sensory systems and the resulting reduction or enhancement of competition between the modalities can serve as an important source of perceptual organization in early development. For example, evidence from precocial animal infants indicates that premature stimulation of a later developing sensory system alters the normal functioning of earlier developing sensory systems However, the mechanisms underlying this dynamic nature of perinatal sensory/perceptual organization have not been explicitly studied. The overall aim of the experiments in this three year study is to assess how sensory systems and their respective stimulation histories influence one another during late prenatal and early postnatal development. Seven related studies, utilizing precocial avian embryos and hatchlings, will examine (a) how premature visual experience affects postnatal auditory and visual functioning, (b) how enhanced auditory prenatal auditory experience affects postnatal auditory and visual functioning, and (c) whether enhanced prenatal auditory experience affects prenatal and postnatal taste sensitivity. Results will add to our knowledge of the nature of early intersensory interaction and will provide a source of comparative data for the growing body of research concerned with intersensory processes in the precocial human infant.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Honeycutt, H; Lickliter, R (2001) Order-dependent timing of unimodal and multimodal stimulation affects prenatal auditory learning in bobwhite quail embryos. Dev Psychobiol 38:1-10
Lickliter, R (2000) The role of sensory stimulation in perinatal development: insights from comparative research for care of the high-risk infant. J Dev Behav Pediatr 21:437-47
Lickliter, R; Bahrick, L E (2000) The development of infant intersensory perception: advantages of a comparative convergent-operations approach. Psychol Bull 126:260-80
Bahrick, L E; Lickliter, R (2000) Intersensory redundancy guides attentional selectivity and perceptual learning in infancy. Dev Psychol 36:190-201
Carlsen, R; Lickliter, R (1999) Augmented prenatal tactile and vestibular stimulation alters postnatal auditory and visual responsiveness in bobwhite quail chicks. Dev Psychobiol 35:215-25
Columbus, R F; Lickliter, R (1998) Modified sensory features of social stimulation alter the perceptual responsiveness of bobwhite quail chicks (Colinus virginianus). J Comp Psychol 112:161-9
Sleigh, M J; Columbus, R F; Lickliter, R (1998) Intersensory experience and early perceptual development: postnatal experience with multimodal maternal cues affects intersensory responsiveness in bobwhite quail chicks. Dev Psychol 34:215-23
Casey, M B; Lickliter, R (1998) Prenatal visual experience influences the development of turning bias in bobwhite quail chicks (Colinus virginianus). Dev Psychobiol 32:327-38
McBride, T; Lickliter, R (1994) Specific postnatal auditory stimulation interferes with species-typical visual responsiveness in bobwhite quail chicks. Dev Psychobiol 27:169-83
Banker, H; Lickliter, R (1993) Effects of early and delayed visual experience on intersensory development in bobwhite quail chicks. Dev Psychobiol 26:155-70

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