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Expected but omitted stimuli affect crossmodal interaction

Costantini, Marcello and Migliorati, Daniele and Donno, Brunella and Sirota, Miroslav and Ferri, Francesca (2018) 'Expected but omitted stimuli affect crossmodal interaction.' Cognition, 171. pp. 52-64. ISSN 0010-0277

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One of the most important ability of our brain is to integrate input from different sensory modalities to create a coherent representation of the environment. Does expectation affect such multisensory integration? In this paper, we tackled this issue by taking advantage from the crossmodal congruency effect (CCE). Participants made elevation judgments to visual target while ignoring tactile distractors. We manipulated the expectation of the tactile distractor by pairing the tactile stimulus to the index finger with a high-frequency tone and the tactile stimulus to the thumb with a low-frequency tone in 80% of the trials. In the remaining trials we delivered the tone and the visual target, but the tactile distractor was omitted (Study 1). Results fully replicated the basic crossmodal congruency effect. Strikingly, the CCE was observed, though at a lesser degree, also when the tactile distractor was not presented but merely expected. The contingencies between tones and tactile distractors were reversed in a follow-up study (Study 2), and the effect was further tested in two conceptual replications using different combinations of stimuli (Studies 5 and 6). Two control studies ruled out alternative explanations of the observed effect that would not involve a role for tactile distractors (Studies 3, 4). Two additional control studies unequivocally proved the dependency of the CCE on the spatial and temporal expectation of the distractors (Study 7, 8). An internal small-scale meta-analysis showed that the crossmodal congruency effect with predicted distractors is a robust medium size effect. Our findings reveal that multisensory integration, one of the most basic and ubiquitous mechanisms to encode external events, benefits from expectation of sensory input.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crossmodal congruency effect; Predictive coding; Sensory expectation
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2017 12:43
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 11:11

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