Effect of Multisensory Information on Memory in Delayed Recognition

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Andrew Butler


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2019


Multisensory information can assist our perception of the world, but does multisensory perception also aid our learning and memory? Previous studies show that multisensory information can enhance continuous recognition memory (Murray et al., 2004), but less data is available on this enhancement working at longer delays. In the current study, we sought to test memory for multisensory information at longer delays than found in previous studies. During the encoding phase, all participants (N=292) were presented with a series of conditions including: multisensory audiovisual learning (one visual image paired with a semantically congruent sound), single unisensory visual learning (one visual image), and double unisensory visual learning (two examples of the same visual image). During the recognition phase, participants were presented with 75 unisensory visual images and given an old/new recognition task. A one-way ANOVA showed a significant difference across these encoding conditions (F(2, 582)= 66.11, p<.001, partial eta squared =.19). Multisensory audiovisual learning led to the highest proportion of correctly recognized items (M = .88, SD = .14), followed by the single unisensory visual learning (M = .81, SD = .17), and then double visual learning (M = .78, SD = .18). Another recognition test given several weeks later showed that the memory advantage of multisensory encoding persisted. These findings support previous studies demonstrating the enhancing effect of multisensory information and show this effect remains at longer delays. Furthermore, our control condition suggests that the memory advantage for multisensory information is not due to the fact that it simply provides extra information during encoding.

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