No Counterpart of Visual Perceptual Echoes in the Auditory System

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It has been previously demonstrated by our group that a visual stimulus made of dynamically changing luminance evokes an echo or reverberation at ∼10 Hz, lasting up to a second. In this study we aimed to reveal whether similar echoes also exist in the auditory modality. A dynamically changing auditory stimulus equivalent to the visual stimulus was designed and employed in two separate series of experiments, and the presence of reverberations was analyzed based on reverse correlations between stimulus sequences and EEG epochs. The first experiment directly compared visual and auditory stimuli: while previous findings of ∼10 Hz visual echoes were verified, no similar echo was found in the auditory modality regardless of frequency. In the second experiment, we tested if auditory sequences would influence the visual echoes when they were congruent or incongruent with the visual sequences. However, the results in that case similarly did not reveal any auditory echoes, nor any change in the characteristics of visual echoes as a function of audio-visual congruence. The negative findings from these experiments suggest that brain oscillations do not equivalently affect early sensory processes in the visual and auditory modalities, and that alpha (8–13 Hz) oscillations play a special role in vision.




Ilhan, B., & VanRullen, R. (2012). No Counterpart of Visual Perceptual Echoes in the Auditory System. PLoS ONE, 7(11).

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