Considerable recent work has focused on so called early multisensory interactions. As such one considers multisensory processes whereby stimuli in the different modalities interact at early stages of the respective pathways, or do so in seemingly automatic fashion independent of cognitive processes. Thereby it is often the case that one modality modulates the processing within another, but does not provide highly specific sensory information (as in multisensory feature-integration). There are many behavioural paradigms in which multisensory perceptual benefits have been considered to arise from such early interactions. Yet it remains unclear whether the observed perceptual effects are indeed explained by anatomical or physiological processes that fit the definition of ‘early’. I will present work from physiological, behavioural and neuroimaging experiments that illustrates some of these early’ multisensory interactions. Some of this work suggests that rhythmic brain activity plays a central role in mediating these. I illustrate this using two behavioural paradigms were implemented in which auxiliary and task-irrelevant sounds enhance subject’s performance in a visual task. EEG recordings showed that in both paradigms perceptual multisensory benefits are best explained by alpha band oscillatory activity. Results such as these begin to uncover the underlying neural mechanisms of early multisensory interactions, but also suggest that some multisensory benefits may arise from a multisensory effect on attention rather than direct sensory interactions per se.
|Date||13 May 2014|
|Time||16:00 - 17:00|