Audiovisual integration in low vision individuals

Stefano Targher*, Valeria Occelli, Massimiliano Zampini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Behavioral and neurophysiological studies have shown an enhancement of visual perception in crossmodal audiovisual stimulation conditions, both for sensitivity and reaction times, when the stimulation in the two sensory modalities occurs in condition of space and time congruency. The purpose of the present work is to verify whether congruent visual and acoustic stimulations can improve the detection of visual stimuli in people affected by low vision. Participants were asked to detect the presence of a visual stimulus (yes/no task) either presented in isolation (i.e., unimodal visual stimulation) or simultaneously with auditory stimuli, which could be placed in the same spatial position (i.e., crossmodal congruent conditions) or in different spatial positions (i.e., crossmodal incongruent conditions). The results show for the first time audiovisual integration effects in low vision individuals. In particular, it has been observed a significant visual detection benefit in the crossmodal congruent as compared to the unimodal visual condition. This effect is selective for visual stimulation that occurs in the portion of visual field that is impaired, and disappears in the region of space in which vision is spared. Surprisingly, there is a marginal crossmodal benefit when the sound is presented at 16 degrees far from the visual stimulus. The observed crossmodal effect seems to be determined by the contribution of both senses to a model of optimal combination, in which the most reliable provides the highest contribution. These results, indicating a significant beneficial effect of synchronous and spatially congruent sounds in a visual detection task, seem very promising for the development of a rehabilitation approach of low vision diseases based on the principles of multisensory integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-582
Number of pages7
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Audiovisual
  • Low vision
  • Multisensory integration
  • Principle of inverse effectiveness

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