Medical Bionics - Research Publications

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    The Impact of Spatial Incongruence on an Auditory-Visual Illusion
    Innes-Brown, H ; Crewther, D ; Louis, M (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-07-31)
    BACKGROUND: The sound-induced flash illusion is an auditory-visual illusion--when a single flash is presented along with two or more beeps, observers report seeing two or more flashes. Previous research has shown that the illusion gradually disappears as the temporal delay between auditory and visual stimuli increases, suggesting that the illusion is consistent with existing temporal rules of neural activation in the superior colliculus to multisensory stimuli. However little is known about the effect of spatial incongruence, and whether the illusion follows the corresponding spatial rule. If the illusion occurs less strongly when auditory and visual stimuli are separated, then integrative processes supporting the illusion must be strongly dependant on spatial congruence. In this case, the illusion would be consistent with both the spatial and temporal rules describing response properties of multisensory neurons in the superior colliculus. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The main aim of this study was to investigate the importance of spatial congruence in the flash-beep illusion. Selected combinations of one to four short flashes and zero to four short 3.5 KHz tones were presented. Observers were asked to count the number of flashes they saw. After replication of the basic illusion using centrally-presented stimuli, the auditory and visual components of the illusion stimuli were presented either both 10 degrees to the left or right of fixation (spatially congruent) or on opposite (spatially incongruent) sides, for a total separation of 20 degrees. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The sound-induced flash fission illusion was successfully replicated. However, when the sources of the auditory and visual stimuli were spatially separated, perception of the illusion was unaffected, suggesting that the "spatial rule" does not extend to describing behavioural responses in this illusion. We also find no evidence for an associated "fusion" illusion reportedly occurring when multiple flashes are accompanied by a single beep.
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    Involvement of the subthalamic nucleus in engagement with behaviourally relevant stimuli
    Sauleau, P ; Eusebio, A ; Thevathasan, W ; Yarrow, K ; Pogosyan, A ; Zrinzo, L ; Ashkan, K ; Aziz, T ; Vandenberghe, W ; Nuttin, B ; Brown, P (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2009-03-01)
    In this study we investigate how the basal ganglia (BG) may process the behavioural relevance of environmental cues by recording local field potentials (LFPs) in the subthalamic nucleus of patients with Parkinson's disease who had undergone implantation of electrodes for deep brain stimulation. Fourteen patients were recorded as they performed a paradigm dissociating warning cue presentation from programming related to execution of specific tasks. Target and non-target warning cues of differing behavioural relevance were contrasted, and we evaluated if warning cue-evoked activities varied according to whether the eventual task to be performed was motor or cognitive and whether patients were receiving or withdrawn from dopaminergic therapy. Warning cues evoked a complex temporal sequence of activities with three epochs over the 760 ms following the onset of the warning cue. In contrast to the initial evoked LFP, evoked activities over two later periods were significantly influenced by behavioural relevance and by treatment state. The early activity was likely related to the initial orientating of attention induced by a novel target, while the delayed responses in our paradigm may reflect processing related to the non-motor resource implications of cues. The results suggest that the BG are intimately involved in the evaluation of changes in the environment and of their behavioural significance. The latter process is partly modulated by dopamine. Weakness in this function might contribute to the behavioural impairment that can follow BG lesions and surgery.