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Visual and Audiovisual Effects of Isochronous Timing on Visual Perception and Brain Activity

Marchant, Jennifer L ; Driver, Jon

Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY), 2013, Vol.23(6), p.1290-1298 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Visual and Audiovisual Effects of Isochronous Timing on Visual Perception and Brain Activity
  • Author/Creator: Marchant, Jennifer L ; Driver, Jon
  • Subjects: Articles ; Cross-Modal ; Multisensory ; Neuroimaging ; Prediction ; Timing
  • Is Part Of: Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY), 2013, Vol.23(6), p.1290-1298
  • Description: Understanding how the brain extracts and combines temporal structure (rhythm) information from events presented to different senses remains unresolved. Many neuroimaging beat perception studies have focused on the auditory domain and show the presence of a highly regular beat (isochrony) in “auditory” stimulus streams enhances neural responses in a distributed brain network and affects perceptual performance. Here, we acquired functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measurements of brain activity while healthy human participants performed a visual task on isochronous versus randomly timed “visual” streams, with or without concurrent task-irrelevant sounds. We found that visual detection of higher intensity oddball targets was better for isochronous than randomly timed streams, extending previous auditory findings to vision. The impact of isochrony on visual target sensitivity correlated positively with fMRI signal changes not only in visual cortex but also in auditory sensory cortex during audiovisual presentations. Visual isochrony activated a similar timing-related brain network to that previously found primarily in auditory beat perception work. Finally, activity in multisensory left posterior superior temporal sulcus increased specifically during concurrent isochronous audiovisual presentations. These results indicate that regular isochronous timing can modulate visual processing and this can also involve multisensory audiovisual brain mechanisms.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 1047-3211 ; E-ISSN: 1460-2199 ; DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhs095 ; PMCID: 3643713 ; PMID: 22508766