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Impact of aging on multisensory perception and underlying brain processes. Study of kinesthetic and texture perception

Authors: Landelle, Caroline;

Impact of aging on multisensory perception and underlying brain processes. Study of kinesthetic and texture perception

Abstract

La perception cohérente de notre corps et de l’environnement repose sur l’intégration permanente de différentes sources sensorielles. Si la compréhension des règles régissant ces processus intégratifs et leurs substrats cérébraux ont été bien décrits chez l’adulte jeune, leurs changements liés au vieillissement sont mal connus à ce jour. Du fait du déclin progressif de tous les systèmes sensoriels au cours du vieillissement normal, nous nous sommes demandés si les stratégies d’intégration étaient modifiées par une fiabilité inégale accordée à chacune des entrées sensorielles ; et si cela était différent selon que la perception ait pour finalité l’estimation des mouvements de notre corps ou des propriétés de notre environnement. Nous avons également recherché les modifications cérébrales associées à ces changements perceptifs en utilisant l’IRMf.En stimulant séparément ou de façon combinée les modalités tactile, proprioceptive musculaire, visuelle et auditive, nous avons étudié les processus intégratifs sous-tendant deux types de perception : la vitesse des mouvements de notre main et la texture d’une surface. Par des approches psychophysiques, nous avons mis en évidence une altération perceptive inégale selon le sens considéré : les perceptions à point de départ tactile étant moins altérées avec l’âge que ce soit dans le cadre de la perception du corps1,2 ou de l’environnement3 tandis que la proprioception musculaire semble particulièrement atteinte dans la perception kinesthésique. Toutefois, les processus intégratifs semblent bien conservés voir même étendus chez les adultes âgés. En effet, la combinaison d’informations congruentes dans la perception kinesthésique améliorait les performances dans les mêmes proportions chez les adultes jeunes et âgés2. De plus, l’ajout d’un distracteur audio incongruent, dans une tâche d’exploration haptique, perturbait plus fortement les adultes âgés3. Une facilitation de l’intégration semble donc se produire dès 65 ans, y compris lorsque les stimuli sont incongruents. Les résultats que nous avons obtenus en neuroimagerie (IRMf) confirment que la perception est altérée chez les personnes âgées, avec une détérioration plus prononcée du système proprioceptif, probablement due à la dégradation des processus inhibiteurs se produisant avec le vieillissement. En particulier, nous avons constaté une altération de la balance inter-hémisphérique entre les régions sensorimotrices primaires corrélée aux déficits kinesthésiques uniquement dans la condition proprioceptive et pas dans la condition tactile4. L’étude de la discrimination des textures a également montré une réorganisation fonctionnelle des activations cérébrales dans l’intégration multisensorielle chez les adultes âgés en condition audio-haptique5.Ce travail souligne à la fois une repondération des informations sensorielles et une facilitation générale des processus multisensoriels chez les personnes âgées, conduisant à un phénomène compensatoire lorsque les informations en présence sont cohérentes. Au niveau cérébral, l'effondrement des processus inhibiteurs avec l'âge expliquerait les troubles perceptifs et la perte de sélectivité des activités cérébrales. Néanmoins, les personnes âgées pourraient bénéficier de ce phénomène de dédifférenciation par une extension de la connectivité inter-réseaux pour surmonter au moins partiellement les déclins des processus d’intégration sensorielle.

The coherent perception of our body and the environment is achieved by the on-going integration of different sensory sources. While the understanding of the rules governing these integrative processes and their brain substrates have been well described in young adults, their age-related changes are poorly understood. Due to the gradual decline of all sensory systems during normal aging, integration strategies could be modified by an unequal reliability given to each of the sensory inputs. They could also change depending on whether the purpose of perception is to estimate the movements of our body or the properties of our environment. We also explored the brain changes associated with these perceptual alterations using fMRI.By stimulating touch, muscle proprioception, vision, and audition separately, or in combination, we studied the integrative processes underlying two types of perception: the speed of our hand movements and the texture of a surface.Through psychophysical approaches, we have highlighted an unequal perceptual alteration according to the modality considered: perceptions from touch being less altered with age, whether in the context of perception of the body 1,2 or the environment3, while muscle proprioception seems to be particularly affected in kinesthetic perception. However, integrative processes seem to be well preserved, or even enhanced, in older adults. Indeed, the combination of congruent information in kinesthetic perception improved performance in the same proportions in young and old adults2. Moreover, the addition of an incongruent audio distractor, in a haptic exploration task, more strongly disrupted older adults3, suggesting an easier integration even though the stimuli were incongruent.Our results obtained in neuroimaging (fMRI) showed that inhibitory processes were altered in elderly adults. Therefore, we found an alteration in the interhemispheric balance between primary sensorimotor regions correlated to kinesthetic deficits in the proprioceptive condition but not tactile condition4. The study about texture discrimination has also showed a functional reorganization of brain activations involved in multisensory integration in elderly adults in audio-haptic conditions5.This work highlights both a reweighting of sensory information and a general facilitation of multisensory processes in elderly, leading to a limited compensatory phenomenon when sensory information are consistent. At the cerebral level, the decline of inhibitory processes with age may explain perceptual disorders and less specific brain recruitment. Nevertheless, older people could benefit from this phenomenon of dedifferentiation by extending their inter-network connectivity to at least partially compensate the declines of sensory integration processes.

Country
France
Keywords

Cerveau, [SCCO.NEUR]Cognitive science/Neuroscience, multisensory integration, muscle proprioception, fMRI, sonification du mouvement, [SCCO.NEUR] Cognitive science/Neuroscience, Brain, psychophysique, proprioception musculaire, toucher, touch, psychophysics, illusion, [SDV.NEU]Life Sciences [q-bio]/Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC], haptic, intégration multisensorielle, [SDV.NEU] Life Sciences [q-bio]/Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC], movement sonification

57 references, page 1 of 6

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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
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