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Behav Brain Res. 2011 Oct 31;224(2):387-96. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.06.017. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Cross-modal versus within-modal recall: differences in behavioral and brain responses.

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Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.


Although human experience is multisensory in nature, previous research has focused predominantly on memory for unisensory as opposed to multisensory information. In this work, we sought to investigate behavioral and neural differences between the cued recall of cross-modal audiovisual associations versus within-modal visual or auditory associations. Participants were presented with cue-target associations comprised of pairs of nonsense objects, pairs of nonsense sounds, objects paired with sounds, and sounds paired with objects. Subsequently, they were required to recall the modality of the target given the cue while behavioral accuracy, reaction time, and blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) activation were measured. Successful within-modal recall was associated with modality-specific reactivation in primary perceptual regions, and was more accurate than cross-modal retrieval. When auditory targets were correctly or incorrectly recalled using a cross-modal visual cue, there was re-activation in auditory association cortex, and recall of information from cross-modal associations activated the hippocampus to a greater degree than within-modal associations. Findings support theories that propose an overlap between regions active during perception and memory, and show that behavioral and neural differences exist between within- and cross-modal associations. Overall the current study highlights the importance of the role of multisensory information in memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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