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Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2002 Jun;14(1):20-30.

Early auditory-visual interactions in human cortex during nonredundant target identification.

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INSERM U280: Mental Processes and Brain Activation, 151 Cours Albert Thomas, 69424 Cedex 03, Lyon, France.


A common finding of behavioral studies is that objects characterized by redundant multisensory cues are identified more rapidly than the same objects presented in either unimodal condition. In a previous electrophysiological study in humans, we have described a network of crossmodal interactions that could be associated with this facilitation effect [M.H. Giard, F. Peronnet, J. Cogn. Neurosci. 11(5) (1999) 473-490]. Here, we sought to determine whether the recognition of objects characterized by nonredundant bimodal components may still induce crossmodal neural interactions. Subjects had to identify three objects defined either by auditory or visual features alone, or by the combination of nonredundant auditory and visual features. As expected, behavioral measures showed no sign of facilitation in bimodal processing. Yet, event-related potential analysis revealed the existence of early (<200 ms latency) crossmodal activities in sensory-specific and nonspecific cortical areas, that were partly dependent on the sensory dominance of the subjects to perform the task. Comparative analysis of the interaction patterns involved in redundant and nonredundant cue processing provides evidence for the robustness of the principle of crossmodal neural synergy that applies whatever the stimulus content (redundant or nonredundant information), and for the high flexibility of the neural networks of integration that are sensitive both to the nature of the perceptual task and to the sensory skill of the individual in that particular task.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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