Aerotactile Integration from Distal Skin Stimuli
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Tactile sensations at extreme distal body locations can integrate with auditory information to alter speech perception among uninformed and untrained listeners. Inaudible air puffs were applied to participants’ ankles, simultaneously with audible syllables having aspirated and unaspirated stop onsets. Syllables heard simultaneously with air puffs were more likely to be heard as aspirated. These results demonstrate that event-appropriate information from distal parts of the body integrates in speech perception, even without frequent or robust location-specific experience. In addition, overall performance was significantly better for those with hair on their ankles, which suggests that the presence of hair may help establish signal relevance, and so aid in multi-modal speech perception.
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