Phasic alertness and multisensory integration contribute to visual awareness of weak visual targets in audio-visual stimulation under Continuous Flash Suppression

Matilda Cederblad* (Corresponding Author), J. Äijälä, S.K. Andersen, M. J. Macleod, Arash Sahraie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Multisensory stimulation is associated with behavioural benefits, including faster processing speed, higher detection accuracy, and increased subjective awareness. These effects are most likely explained by multisensory integration, alertness, or a combination of the two. To examine changes in subjective awareness under multisensory stimulation, we conducted three experiments in which we used Continuous Flash Suppression to mask subthreshold visual targets for healthy
observers. Using the Perceptual Awareness Scale, participants reported their level of awareness of the visual target on a trial-by-trial basis. The first experiment had an audio-visual Redundant Signal Effect paradigm, in which we found faster reaction times in the audio-visual condition compared to responses to auditory or visual signals alone. In two following experiments, we separated the auditory and visual signals, first spatially (experiment 2) and then temporally (experiment 3), to test whether the behavioural benefits in our multisensory stimulation paradigm could best be explained by multisensory integration or increased phasic alerting. Based on the findings, we conclude that the largest contributing factor to increased awareness of visual stimuli accompanied by auditory tones is a rise in phasic alertness and a reduction in temporal uncertainty with a small but significant contribution of multisensory integration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages21
JournalVision
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • multisensory stimulation
  • multisensory integrations
  • alertness
  • phasic alertness
  • visual awareness

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