Perceptual load influences auditory space perception in the ventriloquist aftereffect

TitlePerceptual load influences auditory space perception in the ventriloquist aftereffect
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsEramudugolla R, Kamke MR, Soto-Faraco S, Mattingley JB
Pagination62 - 74
Date Published01/2011
KeywordsAttention, multisensory integration, Perceptual adaptation, Sound Localization, Ventriloquist aftereffect

A period of exposure to trains of simultaneous but spatially offset auditory and visual stimuli can induce a temporary shift in the perception of sound location. This phenomenon, known as the [`]ventriloquist aftereffect', reflects a realignment of auditory and visual spatial representations such that they approach perceptual alignment despite their physical spatial discordance. Such dynamic changes to sensory representations are likely to underlie the brain's ability to accommodate inter-sensory discordance produced by sensory errors (particularly in sound localization) and variability in sensory transduction. It is currently unknown, however, whether these plastic changes induced by adaptation to spatially disparate inputs occurs automatically or whether they are dependent on selectively attending to the visual or auditory stimuli. Here, we demonstrate that robust auditory spatial aftereffects can be induced even in the presence of a competing visual stimulus. Importantly, we found that when attention is directed to the competing stimuli, the pattern of aftereffects is altered. These results indicate that attention can modulate the ventriloquist aftereffect.