Audiovisual (AV) integration is a fundamental component of face-to-face communication. Visual cues generally aid auditory comprehension of communicative intent through our innate ability to “fuse” auditory and visual information. However, our ability for multisensory integration can be affected by damage to the brain. Previous neuroimaging studies have indicated the superior temporal sulcus (STS) as the center for AV integration, while others suggest inferior frontal and motor regions. However, few studies have analyzed the effect of stroke or other brain damage on multisensory integration in humans. The present study examines the effect of lesion location on auditory and AV speech perception through behavioral and structural imaging methodologies in 41 left-hemisphere participants with chronic focal cerebral damage. Participants completed two behavioral tasks of speech perception: an auditory speech perception task and a classic McGurk paradigm measuring congruent (auditory and visual stimuli match) and incongruent (auditory and visual stimuli do not match, creating a “fused” percept of a novel stimulus) AV speech perception. Overall, participants performed well above chance on both tasks. Voxel-based lesion symptom mapping (VLSM) across all 41 participants identified several regions as critical for speech perception depending on trial type. Heschl’s gyrus and the supramarginal gyrus were identified as critical for auditory speech perception, the basal ganglia was critical for speech perception in AV congruent trials, and the middle temporal gyrus/STS were critical in AV incongruent trials. VLSM analyses of the AV incongruent trials were used to further clarify the origin of “errors”, i.e. lack of fusion. Auditory capture (auditory stimulus) responses were attributed to visual processing deficits caused by lesions in the posterior temporal lobe, whereas visual capture (visual stimulus) responses were attributed to lesions in the anterior temporal cortex, including the temporal pole, which is widely considered to be an amodal semantic hub. The implication of anterior temporal regions in AV integration is novel and warrants further study. The behavioral and VLSM results are discussed in relation to previous neuroimaging and case-study evidence; broadly, our findings coincide with previous work indicating that multisensory superior temporal cortex, not frontal motor circuits, are critical for AV integration.
- The neurobiology of audiovisual integration: a voxel-based lesion symptom mapping study
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by Julia Cai