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Neuromodulation of Multisensory Perception: a tDCS study of the sound-induced flash illusion

Bolognini, N; Rossetti, A; Casati, C; Mancini, F; Vallar, G; (2011) Neuromodulation of Multisensory Perception: a tDCS study of the sound-induced flash illusion. Neuropsychologia , 49 (2) pp. 231-237. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.11.015.

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Abstract

This study explores whether brain polarization could be effective in modulating multisensory audiovisual interactions in the human brain, as measured by the ‘sound-induced flash illusion’ (Shams et al., 2000). In different sessions, healthy participants performed the task while receiving anodal, cathodal, or sham tDCS (2 mA, 8 min) to the occipital, temporal, or posterior parietal cortices. We found that up- or down-regulating cortical excitability by tDCS can facilitate or reduce audiovisual illusions, depending on the current polarity, the targeted area, and the illusory percept. Specifically, the perceptual ‘fission’ of a single flash, due to multiple beeps, was increased after anodal tDCS of the temporal cortex, and decreased after anodal stimulation of the occipital cortex. A reversal of such effects was induced by cathodal tDCS. Conversely, the perceptual ‘fusion’ of multiple flashes due to a single beep was unaffected by tDCS. This evidence adds novel clues on the cortical substrate of the generation of the sound-flash illusion, and opens new attractive possibilities for modulating multisensory perception in humans: tDCS appears to be an effective tool to modulate the conscious visual experience associated with multisensory interactions, by noninvasively shifting cortical excitability within occipital or temporal areas.

Type: Article
Title: Neuromodulation of Multisensory Perception: a tDCS study of the sound-induced flash illusion
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.11.015
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010....
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/593628
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