Are alpha oscillations instrumental in multisensory synchrony perception?

Marcel Bastiaansen*, Hermine Berberyan, Jeroen J. Stekelenburg, Jan Mathijs Schoffelen, Jean Vroomen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Different inputs from a multisensory object or event are often integrated into a coherent and unitary percept, despite differences in sensory formats, neural pathways, and processing times of the involved modalities. Presumably, multisensory integration occurs if the cross-modal inputs are presented within a certain window of temporal integration where inputs are perceived as being simultaneous. Here, we examine the role of ongoing neuronal alpha (i.e. 10-Hz) oscillations in multimodal synchrony perception.

While EEG was measured, participants performed a simultaneity judgement task with visual stimuli preceding auditory ones. At stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA’s) of 160–200 ms, simultaneity judgements were around 50%. For trials with these SOA’s, occipital alpha power was smaller preceding correct judgements, and the individual alpha frequency was correlated with the size of the temporal window of integration. In addition, simultaneity judgements were modulated as a function of oscillatory phase at 12.5 Hz, but the latter effect was only marginally significant.

These results support the notion that oscillatory neuronal activity in the alpha frequency range, which has been taken to shape perceptual cycles, is instrumental in multisensory perception.
Original languageEnglish
Article number146744
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • BAND
  • EEG alpha oscillations
  • Individual alpha frequency
  • Multimodal integration
  • Phase dependence
  • Simultaneity judgements


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