Multisensory Interactions and Integration in Human Perception

Clearly the effects of multisensory interactions have an influence on our perceptions of everyday life.

This line of research is interested in the perceptual ramifications of various forms of multisensory integration and interactions. That is, how is perception altered by the integration of information from, or interactions that occur between, our different senses? We are investigating this from at least two different angles.

The first of these addresses how information that is spatially discrepant, such as might be encountered at a movie theater, is still so readily integrated together. This is investigated through the use of various laser-pointing localization paradigms, ranging from the implementation of discrepancy situations to induce the so called “ventriloquism effect,” to investigating the impact of degraded visual acuity.

A second line of research investigates the importance of time on cross-modal perception. Much evidence suggests that cross-modality interactions are likely to occur only when influential stimuli are presented within a critical period of time relative to the event being influenced. Ongoing studies in this lab, using time-critical paradigms displaying multisensory integration, are assessing the pliability of this temporal window and how it affects our ability to perform certain kinds of spatial tasks.

Research along these lines utilizes a combination of classical psychophysical assessment with fMRI in order to (hopefully!) better understand some of the connections between cross-modal perceptual interactions and human neurophysiology.