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Audiovisual synchrony enhances BOLD responses in a brain network including multisensory STS while also enhancing target-detection performance for both modalities

Marchant, Jennifer L ; Ruff, Christian C ; Driver, Jon

2012

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  • Title:
    Audiovisual synchrony enhances BOLD responses in a brain network including multisensory STS while also enhancing target-detection performance for both modalities
  • Author/Creator: Marchant, Jennifer L ; Ruff, Christian C ; Driver, Jon
  • Creation Date: 2012
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Department of Economics ; Foundations of Human Social Behavior: Altruism and Egoism ; 170 Ethics ; 330 Economics ; Anatomy, Radiological and Ultrasound Technology, Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging, Neurology, Clinical Neurology
  • Description: The brain seeks to combine related inputs from different senses (e.g., hearing and vision), via multisensory integration. Temporal information can indicate whether stimuli in different senses are related or not. A recent human fMRI study (Noesselt et al. [2007]: J Neurosci 27:11431-11441) used auditory and visual trains of beeps and flashes with erratic timing, manipulating whether auditory and visual trains were synchronous or unrelated in temporal pattern. A region of superior temporal sulcus (STS) showed higher BOLD signal for the synchronous condition. But this could not be related to performance, and it remained unclear if the erratic, unpredictable nature of the stimulus trains was important. Here we compared synchronous audiovisual trains to asynchronous trains, while using a behavioral task requiring detection of higher-intensity target events in either modality. We further varied whether the stimulus trains had predictable temporal pattern or not. Synchrony (versus lag) between auditory and visual trains enhanced behavioral sensitivity (d') to intensity targets in either modality, regardless of predictable versus unpredictable patterning. The analogous contrast in fMRI revealed BOLD increases in several brain areas, including the left STS region reported by Noesselt et al. [2007: J Neurosci 27:11431-11441]. The synchrony effect on BOLD here correlated with the subject-by-subject impact on performance. Predictability of temporal pattern did not affect target detection performance or STS activity, but did lead to an interaction with audiovisual synchrony for BOLD in inferior parietal cortex.