Neurofeedback modulation of the sound-induced flash illusion using parietal cortex alpha oscillations reveals dependency on prior multisensory congruency

This article was originally published here

Neuroscience. 2021 Nov 25:S0306-4522(21)00588-1. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2021.11.028. Online ahead of print.


Spontaneous neural oscillations are key predictors of perceptual decisions to bind multisensory signals into a unified percept. Research links decreased alpha power in the posterior cortices to attention and audiovisual binding in the sound-induced flash illusion (SIFI) paradigm. This suggests that controlling alpha oscillations would be a way of controlling audiovisual binding. In the present feasibility we used MEG-neurofeedback to train one group of subjects to increase left/right and another to increase right/left alpha power ratios in the parietal cortex. We tested for changes in audiovisual binding in aSIFI paradigm where flashes appeared in both hemifields. Results showed that the neurofeedback induced a significant asymmetry in alpha power for the left/rightgroup,not seen for the right/left group. Corresponding asymmetry changes in audiovisual binding in illusion trials (with 2, 3, and 4 beeps paired with 1 flash) were not apparent. Exploratory analyses showed that neurofeedback training effects were present for illusion trials with the lowest numeric disparity (i.e., 2 beeps and 1 flash trials) only if the previous trial had high congruency (2 beeps and 2 flashes). Our data suggest that the relation between parietal alpha power (an index of attention) and its effect on audiovisual binding is dependent on the learned causal structure in the previous stimulus.The present results suggests that low alpha power biases observers towards audiovisual binding when they have learned that audiovisual signals originate from a common origin, consistent with a Bayesian causal inference account of multisensory perception.

PMID:34838934 | DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2021.11.028