Cross-modal training induces changes in spatial representations early in the auditory processing pathway

  • Bruns P
  • Liebnau R
  • Röder B
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In the ventriloquism aftereffect, brief exposure to a consistent spatial disparity between auditory and visual stimuli leads to a subsequent shift in subjective sound localization toward the positions of the visual stimuli. Such rapid adaptive changes probably play an important role in maintaining the coherence of spatial representations across the various sensory systems. In the research reported here, we used event-related potentials (ERPs) to identify the stage in the auditory processing stream that is modulated by audiovisual discrepancy training. Both before and after exposure to synchronous audiovisual stimuli that had a constant spatial disparity of 15°, participants reported the perceived location of brief auditory stimuli that were presented from central and lateral locations. In conjunction with a sound localization shift in the direction of the visual stimuli (the behavioral ventriloquism aftereffect), auditory ERPs as early as 100 ms poststimulus (N100) were systematically modulated by the disparity training. These results suggest that cross-modal learning was mediated by a relatively early stage in the auditory cortical processing stream.

Author-supplied keywords

  • event-related potentials
  • multisensory
  • plasticity
  • spatial perception
  • ventriloquism aftereffect

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  • Patrick Bruns

  • Ronja Liebnau

  • Brigitte Röder

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