TitleMusical expertise induces audiovisual integration of abstract congruency rules.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsParaskevopoulos, Evangelos, Kuchenbuch Anja, Herholz Sibylle C., and Pantev Christo
JournalJ Neurosci
Date Published2012 Dec 12
KeywordsAcoustic Stimulation, Adult, Brain, Brain Mapping, Female, Humans, Magnetoencephalography, Male, Music, Photic Stimulation, Pitch Perception, Visual Perception, Young Adult

Perception of everyday life events relies mostly on multisensory integration. Hence, studying the neural correlates of the integration of multiple senses constitutes an important tool in understanding perception within an ecologically valid framework. The present study used magnetoencephalography in human subjects to identify the neural correlates of an audiovisual incongruency response, which is not generated due to incongruency of the unisensory physical characteristics of the stimulation but from the violation of an abstract congruency rule. The chosen rule-"the higher the pitch of the tone, the higher the position of the circle"-was comparable to musical reading. In parallel, plasticity effects due to long-term musical training on this response were investigated by comparing musicians to non-musicians. The applied paradigm was based on an appropriate modification of the multifeatured oddball paradigm incorporating, within one run, deviants based on a multisensory audiovisual incongruent condition and two unisensory mismatch conditions: an auditory and a visual one. Results indicated the presence of an audiovisual incongruency response, generated mainly in frontal regions, an auditory mismatch negativity, and a visual mismatch response. Moreover, results revealed that long-term musical training generates plastic changes in frontal, temporal, and occipital areas that affect this multisensory incongruency response as well as the unisensory auditory and visual mismatch responses.

Alternate JournalJ. Neurosci.
PubMed ID23238733