Neuromagnetic responses reveal the cortical timing of audiovisual synchrony

Neuroscience
Raffaella FranciottiLuca Tommasi

Abstract

Multisensory processing involving visual and auditory inputs is modulated by their relative temporal offsets. In order to assess whether multisensory integration alters the activation timing of primary visual and auditory cortices as a function of the temporal offsets between auditory and visual stimuli, a task was designed in which subjects had to judge the perceptual simultaneity of the onset of visual stimuli and brief acoustic tones. These were presented repeatedly with three different inter-stimulus intervals that were chosen to meet three perceptual conditions: (1) physical synchrony perceived as synchrony by subjects (SYNC); (2) physical asynchrony perceived as asynchrony (ASYNC); (3) physical asynchrony perceived ambiguously (AMB, i.e. 50% perceived as synchrony, 50% as asynchrony). Magnetoencephalographic activity was recorded during crossmodal sessions and unimodal control sessions. The activation of primary visual and auditory cortices peaked at a longer latency for the crossmodal conditions as compared to the unimodal conditions. Moreover, the latency in the auditory cortex was longer in the SYNC than in the ASYNC condition, whereas in the visual cortex the latency in the AMB condition was longer than in the ASYNC c...Continue Reading

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