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Synchronization with audio and visual stimuli: Exploring multisensory integration and the role of spatio-temporal information

Armstrong, Alan (2014) Synchronization with audio and visual stimuli: Exploring multisensory integration and the role of spatio-temporal information. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

Information lies at the very heart of the interaction between an individual and their environment, which has led many researchers to argue that the coupling constraining rhythmic coordination is informational. In an attempt to address this informational basis for perception-action this thesis explored the specific information from a given environmental stimulus that is used to control our actions. Namely, participants in the three studies synchronized wrist-pendulum movements with auditory and visual stimuli with different spatio-temporal structures. The aim of this thesis was to establish the role of spatial and temporal information in the control of rhythmic actions. Study 1 revealed that the presence of spatial information significantly improved synchronization with a continuous visual stimulus. Interestingly, the absence of spatial information still produced good levels of coordination indicating a resilience of motor coordination to adapt to changes in the environment. Study 2 expanded on these findings using an auditory stimulus, revealing that the supplementation of spatial information did not have a significant impact on synchronization with this modality. When these auditory and visual stimuli were combined in bimodal conditions there appeared to be no benefit over the unimodal conditions and instead there was a strong bias towards the visual stimuli in these multisensory conditions. The first experiment from Study 3 specifically addressed the role of perceiving relative direction for visual and auditory stimuli by partially occluding these stimuli. While perceiving relative direction at the endpoints of a stimulus’ trajectory was important for both modalities, the auditory modality relied more heavily on this information. The second experiment revealed that when information is occluded in one modality another modality can effectively “fill-in” for the missing information and help to stabilise coordination. The results from the three studies in this thesis clearly indicate that spatial information plays a different role in synchronizing with visual compared to auditory stimuli. These differences are more than likely related to the fact that spatial information is more easily perceived with visual compared to auditory stimuli. Additionally, comparing the bimodal results from study 2 and 3 appears to indicate that the integration of sensory information for improving motor coordination may be mediated by task difficulty. Future research may look to address the specific role that task difficulty plays in multisensory integration.
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:November 2014
Supervisor(s):Issartel, Johann and Belton, Sarahjane
Subjects:Biological Sciences > Neuroscience
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science and Health > School of Health and Human Performance
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
Funders:Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology
ID Code:20194
Deposited On:21 Nov 2014 13:44 by Johann Issartel . Last Modified 19 Jul 2018 15:04

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