Semantic factors influence multisensory pairing: a transcranial magnetic stimulation study

G.R.C. Pourtois, B. de Gelder

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Abstract

It is traditionally assumed that temporal and spatial factors determine whether information provided by different sensory modalities is combined in a single percept. However, neuropsychological reports of selective damage to audio-visual integration and recent neurophysiological results suggest that semantic factors related to the content of the stimuli could also play a role. As a means of extending evidence provided by neuropsychological dissociations we set up a direct comparison of two kinds of audio-visual pairs with different semantic properties and used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We investigated the selective impact of TMS on two kinds of audio-visual pairings presented under identical spatio-temporal conditions (face-voice and tone-shape pairings). Our results show that TMS applied over the left posterior parietal cortex at 200 ms disrupted audio-visual integration for the tone-shape pairings but not for the face-voice ones. Our data are consistent with neuropsychological findings and indicate that besides the well-known dimensions of spatial and temporal contiguity, content is an important determinant of audio-visual integration. Our study also illustrates the usefulness of TMS for addressing the role of semantic factors in multi-sensory perception
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1567-1573
JournalNeuroreport
Volume13
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Cite this

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Semantic factors influence multisensory pairing : a transcranial magnetic stimulation study. / Pourtois, G.R.C.; de Gelder, B.

In: Neuroreport, Vol. 13, No. 12, 2002, p. 1567-1573.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - It is traditionally assumed that temporal and spatial factors determine whether information provided by different sensory modalities is combined in a single percept. However, neuropsychological reports of selective damage to audio-visual integration and recent neurophysiological results suggest that semantic factors related to the content of the stimuli could also play a role. As a means of extending evidence provided by neuropsychological dissociations we set up a direct comparison of two kinds of audio-visual pairs with different semantic properties and used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We investigated the selective impact of TMS on two kinds of audio-visual pairings presented under identical spatio-temporal conditions (face-voice and tone-shape pairings). Our results show that TMS applied over the left posterior parietal cortex at 200 ms disrupted audio-visual integration for the tone-shape pairings but not for the face-voice ones. Our data are consistent with neuropsychological findings and indicate that besides the well-known dimensions of spatial and temporal contiguity, content is an important determinant of audio-visual integration. Our study also illustrates the usefulness of TMS for addressing the role of semantic factors in multi-sensory perception

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