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N1 enhancement in synesthesia during visual and audio-visual perception in semantic cross-modal conflict situations: an ERP study

Sinke, C., Neufeld, J., Wiswede, D., Emrich, H. M., Bleich, S., Münte, T. F. and Szycik, G. R. (2014) N1 enhancement in synesthesia during visual and audio-visual perception in semantic cross-modal conflict situations: an ERP study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8 (21). ISSN 1662-5161

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00021


Synesthesia entails a special kind of sensory perception, where stimulation in one sensory modality leads to an internally generated perceptual experience of another, not stimulated sensory modality. This phenomenon can be viewed as an abnormal multisensory integration process as here the synesthetic percept is aberrantly fused with the stimulated modality. Indeed, recent synesthesia research has focused on multimodal processing even outside of the specific synesthesia-inducing context and has revealed changed multimodal integration, thus suggesting perceptual alterations at a global level. Here, we focused on audio-visual processing in synesthesia using a semantic classification task in combination with visually or auditory-visually presented animated and in animated objects in an audio-visual congruent and incongruent manner. Fourteen subjects with auditory-visual and/or grapheme-color synesthesia and 14 control subjects participated in the experiment. During presentation of the stimuli, event-related potentials were recorded from 32 electrodes. The analysis of reaction times and error rates revealed no group differences with best performance for audio-visually congruent stimulation indicating the well-known multimodal facilitation effect. We found enhanced amplitude of the N1 component over occipital electrode sites for synesthetes compared to controls. The differences occurred irrespective of the experimental condition and therefore suggest a global influence on early sensory processing in synesthetes.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:37354


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