Learning to associate auditory and visual stimuli: behavioral and neural mechanisms.

Altieri N, Stevenson RA, Wallace MT, Wenger MJ
Brain Topogr. 2015 28 (3): 479-93

PMID: 24276220 · PMCID: PMC4043950 · DOI:10.1007/s10548-013-0333-7

The ability to effectively combine sensory inputs across modalities is vital for acquiring a unified percept of events. For example, watching a hammer hit a nail while simultaneously identifying the sound as originating from the event requires the ability to identify spatio-temporal congruencies and statistical regularities. In this study, we applied a reaction time and hazard function measure known as capacity (e.g., Townsend and AshbyCognitive Theory 200-239, 1978) to quantify the extent to which observers learn paired associations between simple auditory and visual patterns in a model theoretic manner. As expected, results showed that learning was associated with an increase in accuracy, but more significantly, an increase in capacity. The aim of this study was to associate capacity measures of multisensory learning, with neural based measures, namely mean global field power (GFP). We observed a co-variation between an increase in capacity, and a decrease in GFP amplitude as learning occurred. This suggests that capacity constitutes a reliable behavioral index of efficient energy expenditure in the neural domain.

MeSH Terms (9)

Acoustic Stimulation Association Learning Auditory Perception Brain Electroencephalography Humans Photic Stimulation Visual Perception Young Adult

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