Enhanced effectiveness in visuo-haptic object-selective brain regions with increasing stimulus salience

Authors

  • Sunah Kim,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cognitive Science Program, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
    2. Program in Neuroscience, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
    • Program in Neuroscience, Indiana University, 1101 E 10th St, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
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  • Thomas W. James

    1. Cognitive Science Program, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
    2. Program in Neuroscience, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
    3. Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
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Abstract

The occipital and parietal lobes contain regions that are recruited for both visual and haptic object processing. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the underlying neural mechanisms for bimodal integration of vision and haptics in these visuo-haptic object-selective brain regions to find out whether these brain regions are sites of neuronal or areal convergence. Our sensory conditions consisted of visual-only (V), haptic-only (H), and visuo-haptic (VH), which allowed us to evaluate integration using the superadditivity metric. We also presented each stimulus condition at two different levels of signal-to-noise ratio or salience. The salience manipulation allowed us to assess integration using the rule of inverse effectiveness. We were able to localize previously described visuo-haptic object-selective regions in the lateral occipital cortex (lateral occipital tactile-visual area) and the intraparietal sulcus, and also localized a new region in the left anterior fusiform gyrus. There was no evidence of superadditivity with the VH stimulus at either level of salience in any of the regions. There was, however, a strong effect of salience on multisensory enhancement: the response to the VH stimulus was more enhanced at higher salience across all regions. In other words, the regions showed enhanced integration of the VH stimulus with increasing effectiveness of the unisensory stimuli. We called the effect “enhanced effectiveness.” The presence of enhanced effectiveness in visuo-haptic object-selective brain regions demonstrates neuronal convergence of visual and haptic sensory inputs for the purpose of processing object shape. Hum Brain Mapp, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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