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Cereb Cortex. 2007 Nov;17(11):2696-702. Epub 2007 Jan 31.

Binding symbols and sounds: evidence from event-related oscillatory gamma-band activity.

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Institute of Psychology I, University of Leipzig, Seeburgstrasse 14-20, D-04103, Leipzig, Germany.


The present study intended to examine the neural basis of audiovisual integration, hypothetically achieved by synchronized gamma-band oscillations (30-80 Hz) that have been suggested to integrate stimulus features and top-down information. To that end, we studied the impact of visual symbolic information on early auditory sensory processing of upcoming sounds. In particular, we used a symbol-to-sound-matching paradigm in which simple score-like patterns predict corresponding sound patterns. Occasionally, a single sound is incongruent with the corresponding element of the visual pattern. In response to expected sounds congruent with the corresponding visual symbol, a power increase of phase-locked (evoked) activity in the 40-Hz band was observed peaking 42-ms poststimulus onset. Thus, for the first time, we demonstrated that the comparison process between a neural model, the expectation, and the current sensory input is implemented at very early levels of auditory processing. Subsequently, expected congruent sounds elicited a broadband power increase of non-phase-locked (induced) activity peaking 152-ms poststimulus onset, which might reflect the formation of a unitary event representation including both visual and auditory aspects of the stimulation. Gamma-band responses were not present for unexpected incongruent sounds. A model explaining the anticipatory activation of cortical auditory representations and the match of experience against expectation is presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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