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Journal Article

Temporo-nasal asymmetry in multisensory integration mediated by the Superior Colliculus

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Bertini, C., Leo, F., & Làvadas, E. (2008). Temporo-nasal asymmetry in multisensory integration mediated by the Superior Colliculus. Brain Research, 1242, 37-44. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2008.03.087.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-C663-8
Temporo-nasal asymmetry in visual responses has been observed in many behavioural studies. These observations have typically been attributed to the anatomical asymmetry of fibres projecting to the Superior Colliculus (SC), even though this attribution is debated. The present study investigates temporo-nasal asymmetry in multisensory integration, and, by exploiting the absence of S-cone input to the SC, measures a behavioural response dependent strictly on the activity of the SC itself. We used a redundant signal paradigm for simple reaction times, with visual stimuli (red or purple) presented in either the temporal or the nasal hemifield. Participants responded more quickly to concurrent audio-visual (AV) stimuli than to either an auditory or a visual stimulus alone, an established phenomenon known as the Redundant Target Effect (RTE). The nature of this effect was dependent on the colour of the visual stimuli, suggesting its modulation by collicular circuits. When spatially-coincident audio-visual stimuli were visible to the SC (i.e. red stimuli), the RTE depended on a neural coactivation mechanism, suggesting an integration of multisensory information. When using stimuli invisible to the SC (i.e. purple stimuli), the RTE depended only on a simple statistical facilitation effect, in which the two sensory stimuli were processed by independent channels. Finally, we demonstrate that the multisensory integration effect was stronger for stimuli presented to the temporal hemifield than to the nasal hemifield. Taken together, these findings suggested that multisensory stimulation can be differentially effective depending on specific stimulus parameters.