Multisensory contributions to the perception of vibrotactile events

TitleMultisensory contributions to the perception of vibrotactile events
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSoto-Faraco S, Deco G
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Date Published01/2009
KeywordsAnimals, Auditory Perception, Auditory Perception: physiology, Behavior, Behavior: physiology, Computer Simulation, Humans, Perception, Perception: physiology, Touch, Touch: physiology, Vibration

We argue that audio-tactile interactions during vibrotactile processing provide a promising, albeit largely neglected, benchmark for the systematic study multisensory integration. This article reviews and discusses current evidence for multisensory contributions to the perception of vibratory events, and proposes a framework to address a number of relevant questions. First, we highlight some of the features that characterize the senses of hearing and touch in terms of vibratory information processing, and which allow for potential cross-modal interactions at multiple levels along the functional architecture of the sensory systems. Second, we briefly review empirical evidence for interactions between hearing and touch in the domain of vibroactile perception and related stimulus properties, covering behavioural, electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies in humans and animals. Third, we discuss the vibrotactile discrimination task, which has been successfully applied in the study of perception and decision processes in psychophysical and physiological research. We argue that this approach, complemented with computational modeling using biophysically realistic neural networks, may be a convenient framework to address auditory contributions to vibrotactile processing in the somatosensory system. Finally, we comment on a series of particular issues which are relevant in multisensory research and potentially addressable within the proposed framework.