Multisensory Facilitation of Behavior in Monkeys: Effects of Stimulus Intensity
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Multisensory stimuli can improve performance, facilitating RTs on sensorimotor tasks. This benefit is referred to as the redundant signals effect (RSE) and can exceed predictions on the basis of probability summation, indicative of integrative processes. Although an RSE exceeding probability summation has been repeatedly observed in humans and nonprimate animals, there are scant and inconsistent data from nonhuman primates performing similar protocols. Rather, existing paradigms have instead
... gms have instead focused on saccadic eye movements. Moreover, the extant results in monkeys leave unresolved how stimulus synchronicity and intensity impact performance. Two trained monkeys performed a simple detection task involving arm movements to auditory, visual, or synchronous auditory-visual multisensory pairs. RSEs in excess of predictions on the basis of probability summation were observed and thus forcibly follow from neural response interactions. Parametric variation of auditory stimulus intensity revealed that in both animals, RT facilitation was limited to situations where the auditory stimulus intensity was below or up to 20 dB above perceptual threshold, despite the visual stimulus always being suprathreshold. No RT facilitation or even behavioral costs were obtained with auditory intensities 30-40 dB above threshold. The present study demonstrates the feasibility and the suitability of behaving monkeys for investigating links between psychophysical and neurophysiologic instantiations of multisensory interactions.