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Exp Brain Res. 2013 Apr;225(4):479-89. doi: 10.1007/s00221-012-3387-y. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

The effects of visual training on multisensory temporal processing.

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Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Medical Research Building III, Suite 7110C, Nashville, TN, USA.


The importance of multisensory integration for human behavior and perception is well documented, as is the impact that temporal synchrony has on driving such integration. Thus, the more temporally coincident two sensory inputs from different modalities are, the more likely they will be perceptually bound. This temporal integration process is captured by the construct of the temporal binding window-the range of temporal offsets within which an individual is able to perceptually bind inputs across sensory modalities. Recent work has shown that this window is malleable and can be narrowed via a multisensory perceptual feedback training process. In the current study, we seek to extend this by examining the malleability of the multisensory temporal binding window through changes in unisensory experience. Specifically, we measured the ability of visual perceptual feedback training to induce changes in the multisensory temporal binding window. Visual perceptual training with feedback successfully improved temporal visual processing, and more importantly, this visual training increased the temporal precision across modalities, which manifested as a narrowing of the multisensory temporal binding window. These results are the first to establish the ability of unisensory temporal training to modulate multisensory temporal processes, findings that can provide mechanistic insights into multisensory integration and which may have a host of practical applications.

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