Cortical processes of multisensory plausibility modulation of vibrotactile perception in virtual environments in middled-aged and older adults

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


Digital technologies, such as virtual or augmented reality, can potentially support neurocognitive functions of the aging populations worldwide and complement existing intervention methods. However, aging-related declines in the frontal-parietal network and dopaminergic modulation which progress gradually across the later periods of the adult lifespan may affect the processing of multisensory congruence and expectancy based contextual plausibility. We assessed hemodynamic brain responses while middle-aged and old adults experienced car-riding virtual-reality scenarios where the plausibility of vibrotactile stimulations was manipulated by delivering stimulus intensities that were either congruent or incongruent with the digitalized audio-visual contexts of the respective scenarios. Relative to previous findings observed in young adults, although highly plausible vibrotactile stimulations confirming with contextual expectations also elicited higher brain hemodynamic responses in middle-aged and old adults, this effect was limited to virtual scenarios with extreme expectancy violations. Moreover, individual differences in plausibility-related frontal activity did not correlate with plausibility violation costs in the sensorimotor cortex, indicating less systematic frontal context-based sensory filtering in older ages. These findings have practical implications for advancing digital technologies to support aging societies.


Original languageEnglish
Article number13366
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024

External IDs

PubMed 38862559
ORCID /0000-0002-3496-441X/work/162345766
ORCID /0000-0001-8409-5390/work/162348787
ORCID /0000-0002-0803-8818/work/162348881


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Aging, Contextual expectation, Multisensory processing, Tactile perception, Virtual reality, fNIRS, Vibration, Humans, Middle Aged, Touch Perception/physiology, Male, Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods, Aging/physiology, Female, Adult, Aged, Virtual Reality