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Full Access A neural network model of cortical auditory–visual interactions

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A neural network model of cortical auditory–visual interactions

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The perception of the external world is based on the integration of inputs from different sensory modalities. Recent experimental findings suggest that this phenomenon is present in lower-level cortical areas at early processing stages. The mechanisms underlying these early processes and the organization of the underlying circuitries are still a matter of debate. Here, we investigate audiovisual interactions by means of a simple neural network consisting of two layers of visual and auditory neurons. We suggest that the spatial and temporal aspects of audio-visual illusions can be explained within this simple framework, based on two main assumptions: auditory and visual neurons communicate via direct synapses; spatio-temporal receptive fields are different in the two modalities, auditory processing exhibiting a higher temporal resolution, visual processing a higher spatial acuity. With these assumptions, the model is able: (i) to simulate the sound-induced flash fission illusion; (ii) to reproduce psychometric curves assuming a random variability in some parameters; (iii) to account for other audio-visual illusions, such as the sound-induced flash fusion and the ventriloquism illusions. In sum, the proposed model provides a unifying summary of spatio-temporal audio-visual interactions, valuable to interpret a wide set of available findings, and a framework for future experiments.

Affiliations: 1: 1University of Bologna, Italy; 2: 2University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy

The perception of the external world is based on the integration of inputs from different sensory modalities. Recent experimental findings suggest that this phenomenon is present in lower-level cortical areas at early processing stages. The mechanisms underlying these early processes and the organization of the underlying circuitries are still a matter of debate. Here, we investigate audiovisual interactions by means of a simple neural network consisting of two layers of visual and auditory neurons. We suggest that the spatial and temporal aspects of audio-visual illusions can be explained within this simple framework, based on two main assumptions: auditory and visual neurons communicate via direct synapses; spatio-temporal receptive fields are different in the two modalities, auditory processing exhibiting a higher temporal resolution, visual processing a higher spatial acuity. With these assumptions, the model is able: (i) to simulate the sound-induced flash fission illusion; (ii) to reproduce psychometric curves assuming a random variability in some parameters; (iii) to account for other audio-visual illusions, such as the sound-induced flash fusion and the ventriloquism illusions. In sum, the proposed model provides a unifying summary of spatio-temporal audio-visual interactions, valuable to interpret a wide set of available findings, and a framework for future experiments.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134808-000s0095
2013-05-16
2017-05-26

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