Abstract

Widmann, A., Gruber, T., Kujala, T., Tervaniemi, M., & Schröger, E. (2007). Binding Symbols and Sounds: Evidence from Event-Related Oscillatory Gamma-Band Activity. Cerebral Cortex, 17(11), 2696-2702.

Binding Symbols and Sounds: Evidence from Event-Related Oscillatory Gamma-Band Activity

The present study intended to examine the neural basis of audiovisual integration, hypothetically achieved by synchronized gamma-band oscillations (30-80 Hz) that have been suggested to integrate stimulus features and top-down information. To that end, we studied the impact of visual symbolic information on early auditory sensory processing of upcoming sounds. In particular, we used a symbol-to-sound-matching paradigm in which simple score-like patterns predict corresponding sound patterns. Occasionally, a single sound is incongruent with the corresponding element of the visual pattern. In response to expected sounds congruent with the corresponding visual symbol, a power increase of phase-locked (evoked) activity in the 40-Hz band was observed peaking 42-ms poststimulus onset. Thus, for the first time, we demonstrated that the comparison process between a neural model, the expectation, and the current sensory input is implemented at very early levels of auditory processing. Subsequently, expected congruent sounds elicited a broadband power increase of non-phase-locked (induced) activity peaking 152-ms poststimulus onset, which might reflect the formation of a unitary event representation including both visual and auditory aspects of the stimulation. Gamma-band responses were not present for unexpected incongruent sounds. A model explaining the anticipatory activation of cortical auditory representations and the match of experience against expectation is presented.



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Cognitive and Biological Psychology

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