Multisensory Integration: Frequency Tuning of Audio-Tactile Integration

Program in Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, The City College of the City University of New York, 138th Street and Convent Avenue, NAC Building-Room 7/202, New York, NY 10031, USA.
Current biology: CB (Impact Factor: 9.57). 06/2009; 19(9):R373-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.03.029
Source: PubMed


Multisensory information can be crucial, yet in many circumstances we have little, if any, awareness of the effects of multisensory inputs on what appear to be entirely unisensory perceptions. A recent study shows robust effects of auditory input on tactile frequency discriminations and that this auditory cross-sensory interference has specific tuning.

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    • "Research has also shown that the neural substrates of both the auditory and tactile systems are shared at a much lower level than previously understood [5] [6]. For our experiments, we have chosen to focus on the cumulative effects of both vibrotactile feedback applied in tandem with an auditory stimulus. "

    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jan 2015
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    • "Thus, one implication is that these children may find communication more difficult in challenging multi-speaker scenarios, not uncommon in classrooms or other social settings. MSI is also vital to more basic functions, such as maintaining balance through visuo-vestibular and visual-somatosensory integration [15] and in speeded orienting to reliable multisensory events, whether it be for object identification or cueing initiation of approach/avoidance behaviors [16,18–21,24]. A more comprehensive understanding of the multisensory integration abilities of these children is clearly called for, and it will be of significant interest to assess the underlying neurophysiology in turn [51,52]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Niemann-Pick type-C (NPC) is an autosomal recessive disease in which cholesterol and glycosphingolipids accumulate in lysosomes due to aberrant cell-transport mechanisms. It is characterized by progressive and ultimately terminal neurological disease, but both pre-clinical studies and direct human trials are underway to test the safety and efficacy of cholesterol clearing compounds, with good success already observed in animal models. Key to assessing the effectiveness of interventions in patients, however, is the development of objective neurobiological outcome measures. Multisensory integration mechanisms present as an excellent candidate since they necessarily rely on the fidelity of long-range neural connections between the respective sensory cortices (e.g. the auditory and visual systems).MethodsA simple way to test integrity of the multisensory system is to ask whether individuals respond faster to the occurrence of a bisensory event than they do to the occurrence of either of the unisensory constituents alone. Here, we presented simple auditory, visual, and audio-visual stimuli in random sequence. Participants responded as fast as possible with a button push. One 11-year-old and two 14-year-old boys with NPC participated in the experiment and their results were compared to those of 35 age-matched neurotypical boys.ResultsReaction times (RTs) to the stimuli when presented simultaneously were significantly faster than when they were presented alone in the neurotypical children, a facilitation that could not be accounted for by probability summation, as evidenced by violation of the so-called `race¿ model. In stark contrast, the NPC boys showed no such speeding, despite the fact that their unisensory RTs fell within the distribution of RTs observed in the neurotypicals.Conclusions These results uncover a previously undescribed deficit in multisensory integrative abilities in NPC, with implications for ongoing treatment of the clinical symptoms of these children. They also suggest that multisensory processes may represent a good candidate biomarker against which to test the efficacy of therapeutic interventions.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
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    • "However, neurons in area CM may be better suited for spatial localization (Rauschecker and Tian, 2000; Recanzone, 2000b) and frequency tuning in area CM may be too poor to support spectral analysis (Lakatos et al., 2005; Kayser et al., 2009). The caudolateral belt area (area CL) may be a better candidate, given its more refined tonotopic organization (Foxe, 2009). Additionally, audio-tactile interactions are thought to occur throughout primary and association auditory cortices (Foxe et al., 2000, 2002; Schroeder et al., 2001; Kayser et al., 2005; Murray et al., 2005; Caetano and Jousmaki, 2006; Schurmann et al., 2006; Hackett et al., 2007b; Lakatos et al., 2007), secondary somatosensory cortex (Lutkenhoner et al., 2002; Iguchi et al., 2007; Beauchamp and Ro, 2008), posterior parietal cortex (Gobbele et al., 2003), and in the thalamus (Ro et al., 2007; Cappe et al., 2009a,b), providing many potential neural substrates for auditory and tactile crosstalk. "
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    ABSTRACT: A major goal in perceptual neuroscience is to understand how signals from different sensory modalities are combined to produce stable and coherent representations. We previously investigated interactions between audition and touch, motivated by the fact that both modalities are sensitive to environmental oscillations. In our earlier study, we characterized the effect of auditory distractors on tactile frequency and intensity perception. Here, we describe the converse experiments examining the effect of tactile distractors on auditory processing. Because the two studies employ the same psychophysical paradigm, we combined their results for a comprehensive view of how auditory and tactile signals interact and how these interactions depend on the perceptual task. Together, our results show that temporal frequency representations are perceptually linked regardless of the attended modality. In contrast, audio-tactile loudness interactions depend on the attended modality: Tactile distractors influence judgments of auditory intensity, but judgments of tactile intensity are impervious to auditory distraction. Lastly, we show that audio-tactile loudness interactions depend critically on stimulus timing, while pitch interactions do not. These results reveal that auditory and tactile inputs are combined differently depending on the perceptual task. That distinct rules govern the integration of auditory and tactile signals in pitch and loudness perception implies that the two are mediated by separate neural mechanisms. These findings underscore the complexity and specificity of multisensory interactions.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Frontiers in Psychology
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