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Exp Brain Res. 2016 May;234(5):1325-32. doi: 10.1007/s00221-016-4591-y. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

When audiovisual correspondence disturbs visual processing.

Hong SW1,2, Shim WM3,4,5.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Rd., BS 12, Room 209, Boca Raton, FL, 33431, USA.
Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, USA.
Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, HB 6207 Moore Hall, Hanover, NH, 03755, USA.
Center for Neuroscience Imaging Research, Institute for Basic Science, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Korea.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Korea.


Multisensory integration is known to create a more robust and reliable perceptual representation of one's environment. Specifically, a congruent auditory input can make a visual stimulus more salient, consequently enhancing the visibility and detection of the visual target. However, it remains largely unknown whether a congruent auditory input can also impair visual processing. In the current study, we demonstrate that temporally congruent auditory input disrupts visual processing, consequently slowing down visual target detection. More importantly, this cross-modal inhibition occurs only when the contrast of visual targets is high. When the contrast of visual targets is low, enhancement of visual target detection is observed, consistent with the prediction based on the principle of inverse effectiveness (PIE) in cross-modal integration. The switch of the behavioral effect of audiovisual interaction from benefit to cost further extends the PIE to encompass the suppressive cross-modal interaction.


Audiovisual correspondence; Contrast; Cross-modal inhibition; Multisensory

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