The following is a summary of “Internal biases are linked to disrupted cue combination in children and adults” published in the November 2022 issue of Vision by Negen, et al.

When two sensory cues are combined to improve perception, it is called a cue combination. When two cues to the same condition of the environment are interpreted differently on average, it is said that internal relative bias has occurred. Many situations where cue combination is missing, such as in children under 10 years old and in a range of activities, are difficult to explain for in current theory and data. For a study, researchers sought to demonstrate how internal relative biases between cues may play a significant role in the explanation. 

In Experiment 1, which examined disparity and texture in children’s three-dimensional (slant) perception, it was discovered that internal relative bias and cue combination behavior had a negative cross-sectional connection in children aged 7 to 10. Contrary to the normal outcome for that age group, children who had internal relative bias below the median were able to mix cues. In Experiment 2, which looked at adults’ visual-auditory localization, it was discovered that cue combination behavior increased following an internal relative bias reduction intervention. 

It was compelling but early evidence that internal relative bias can interfere with cue combination behavior. It offered a viable method to explain why adults’ audiovisual cue combinations were so unpredictable and why children under 10 typically did not mix cues. Moving forward, they sought to look into the likelihood of problems with internal relative bias if they are unable to detect the anticipated cue combination impact. For rehabilitation and sensory substitution or augmentation approaches to support effective multisensory perception, reducing internal relative bias may also be a key goal.