Individual Alpha Frequency Relates to the Sound-Induced Flash Illusion

In: Multisensory Research
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  • 1 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, St. Hedwig Hospital, Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Grosse Hambuger Strasse 5-1, 10115 Berlin, Germany
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Ongoing neural oscillations reflect fluctuations of cortical excitability. A growing body of research has underlined the role of neural oscillations for stimulus processing. Neural oscillations in the alpha band have gained special interest in electrophysiological research on perception. Recent studies proposed the idea that neural oscillations provide temporal windows in which sensory stimuli can be perceptually integrated. This also includes multisensory integration. In the current high-density EEG-study we examined the relationship between the individual alpha frequency (IAF) and cross-modal audiovisual integration in the sound-induced flash illusion (SIFI). In 26 human volunteers we found a negative correlation between the IAF and the SIFI illusion rate. Individuals with a lower IAF showed higher audiovisual illusions. Source analysis suggested an involvement of the visual cortex, especially the calcarine sulcus, for this relationship. Our findings corroborate the notion that the IAF affects the cross-modal integration of auditory on visual stimuli in the SIFI. We integrate our findings with recent observations on the relationship between audiovisual integration and neural oscillations and suggest a multifaceted influence of neural oscillations on multisensory processing.

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