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The neural mechanisms of reliability weighted integration of shape information from vision and touch

Helbig, Hannah B. and Ernst, Marc O. and Ricciardi, Emiliano and Pietrini, Pietro and Thielscher, Axel and Mayer, Katja M. and Schultz, Johannes and Noppeney, Uta The neural mechanisms of reliability weighted integration of shape information from vision and touch. NeuroImage, 60 (2). 1063 - 1072. ISSN 1053-8119 (2012)

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Behaviourally, humans have been shown to integrate multisensory information in a statistically-optimal fashion by averaging the individual unisensory estimates according to their relative reliabilities. This form of integration is optimal in that it yields the most reliable (i.e. least variable) multisensory percept. The present study investigates the neural mechanisms underlying integration of visual and tactile shape information at the macroscopic scale of the regional {BOLD} response. Observers discriminated the shapes of ellipses that were presented bimodally (visual–tactile) or visually alone. A 2 × 5 factorial design manipulated (i) the presence vs. absence of tactile shape information and (ii) the reliability of the visual shape information (five levels). We then investigated whether regional activations underlying tactile shape discrimination depended on the reliability of visual shape. Indeed, in primary somatosensory cortices (bilateral BA2) and the superior parietal lobe the responses to tactile shape input were increased when the reliability of visual shape information was reduced. Conversely, tactile inputs suppressed visual activations in the right posterior fusiform gyrus, when the visual signal was blurred and unreliable. Somatosensory and visual cortices may sustain integration of visual and tactile shape information either via direct connections from visual areas or top-down effects from higher order parietal areas.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.09.072
Uncontrolled Keywords: Vision, Touch, Multisensory integration, Maximum Likelihood Estimation, Shape, fMRI, Postcentral sulcus
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Research Area: Computer Science and Applications
Depositing User: Caterina Tangheroni
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2015 10:41
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 09:50
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2915

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