Cross-modal interactions between sensory channels have been shown to depend on both the spatial disparity and the perceptual similarity between the presented stimuli. Here we investigate the behavioral and neural integration of auditory and tactile stimulus pairs at different levels of spatial disparity. Additionally, we modulated the amplitudes of both stimuli in either a coherent or non-coherent manner. We found that both auditory and tactile localization performance was biased towards the stimulus in the respective other modality. This bias linearly increases with stimulus disparity and is more pronounced for coherently modulated stimulus pairs. Analyses of electroencephalographic (EEG) activity at temporal-cortical sources revealed enhanced event-related potentials (ERPs) as well as decreased alpha and beta power during bimodal as compared to unimodal stimulation. However, while the observed ERP differences are similar for all stimulus combinations, the extent of oscillatory desynchronization varies with stimulus disparity. Moreover, when both stimuli were subjectively perceived as originating from the same direction, the reduction in alpha and beta power was significantly stronger. These observations suggest that in the EEG the level of perceptual integration is mainly reflected by changes in ongoing oscillatory activity.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)