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PLoS One. 2010 Jan 29;5(1):e8952. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008952.

Real-time decreased sensitivity to an audio-visual illusion during goal-directed reaching.

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Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


In humans, sensory afferences are combined and integrated by the central nervous system (Ernst MO, Bülthoff HH (2004) Trends Cogn. Sci. 8: 162-169) and appear to provide a holistic representation of the environment. Empirical studies have repeatedly shown that vision dominates the other senses, especially for tasks with spatial demands. In contrast, it has also been observed that sound can strongly alter the perception of visual events. For example, when presented with 2 flashes and 1 beep in a very brief period of time, humans often report seeing 1 flash (i.e. fusion illusion, Andersen TS, Tiippana K, Sams M (2004) Brain Res. Cogn. Brain Res. 21: 301-308). However, it is not known how an unfolding movement modulates the contribution of vision to perception. Here, we used the audio-visual illusion to demonstrate that goal-directed movements can alter visual information processing in real-time. Specifically, the fusion illusion was linearly reduced as a function of limb velocity. These results suggest that cue combination and integration can be modulated in real-time by goal-directed behaviors; perhaps through sensory gating (Chapman CE, Beauchamp E (2006) J. Neurophysiol. 96: 1664-1675) and/or altered sensory noise (Ernst MO, Bülthoff HH (2004) Trends Cogn. Sci. 8: 162-169) during limb movements.

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