Visuohaptic convergence in a corticocerebellar network

Authors

  • Marcus J. Naumer,

    1. Institute of Medical Psychology, Goethe-University, Heinrich-Hoffmann-Strasse 10, D-60528 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    2. Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
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    • *

      M.J.N. and G.H. contributed equally.

  • Leonie Ratz,

    1. Institute of Medical Psychology, Goethe-University, Heinrich-Hoffmann-Strasse 10, D-60528 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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  • Yavor Yalachkov,

    1. Institute of Medical Psychology, Goethe-University, Heinrich-Hoffmann-Strasse 10, D-60528 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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  • Andrea Polony,

    1. Institute of Medical Psychology, Goethe-University, Heinrich-Hoffmann-Strasse 10, D-60528 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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  • Oliver Doehrmann,

    1. Institute of Medical Psychology, Goethe-University, Heinrich-Hoffmann-Strasse 10, D-60528 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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  • Vincent Van De Ven,

    1. Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
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  • Notger G. Müller,

    1. Brain Imaging Center, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    2. Cognitive Neurology Unit, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    3. Neurology Department, Otto von Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany
    4. German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany
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  • Jochen Kaiser,

    1. Institute of Medical Psychology, Goethe-University, Heinrich-Hoffmann-Strasse 10, D-60528 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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  • Grit Hein

    1. Brain Imaging Center, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    2. Cognitive Neurology Unit, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    3. Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research, University of Zürich, Switzerland
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    • *

      M.J.N. and G.H. contributed equally.


Dr Marcus J. Naumer, 1Institute of Medical Psychology, as above.
E-mail: M.J.Naumer@med.uni-frankfurt.de

Abstract

The processing of visual and haptic inputs, occurring either separately or jointly, is crucial for everyday-life object recognition, and has been a focus of recent neuroimaging research. Previously, visuohaptic convergence has been mostly investigated with matching-task paradigms. However, much less is known about visuohaptic convergence in the absence of additional task demands. We conducted two functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments in which subjects actively touched and/or viewed unfamiliar object stimuli without any additional task demands. In addition, we performed two control experiments with audiovisual and audiohaptic stimulation to examine the specificity of the observed visuohaptic convergence effects. We found robust visuohaptic convergence in bilateral lateral occipital cortex and anterior cerebellum. In contrast, neither the anterior cerebellum nor the lateral occipital cortex showed any involvement in audiovisual or audiohaptic convergence, indicating that multisensory convergence in these regions is specifically geared to visual and haptic inputs. These data suggest that in humans the lateral occipital cortex and the anterior cerebellum play an important role in visuohaptic processing even in the absence of additional task demands.

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