The perceptual nature of audiovisual interactions for semantic knowledge in young and elderly adults

Audiovisual interactions for familiar objects are at the core of perception. The nature of these interactions de- pends on the amodal – sensory abstracted – or modal – sensory-dependent – approach of knowledge. According to these approaches, the interactions should be respectively semantic and indirect or perceptual and direct. This issue is therefore a central question to memory and perception, yet the nature of these inter- actions remains unexplored in young and elderly adults. Weused a cross-modal priming paradigm combined with a visual masking procedure of half of the auditory primes. The data demonstrated similar results in the young and elderly adult groups. The mask interfered with the priming effect in the semantically congruent condition, whereas the mask facilitated the processing of the visual target in the semantically incongruent condition. These findings indicate that audiovisual interactions are perceptual, and support the grounded cognition theory.