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Speech Cues Contribute to Audiovisual Spatial Integration

By Christopher W. Bishop and Lee M. Miller


Speech is the most important form of human communication but ambient sounds and competing talkers often degrade its acoustics. Fortunately the brain can use visual information, especially its highly precise spatial information, to improve speech comprehension in noisy environments. Previous studies have demonstrated that audiovisual integration depends strongly on spatiotemporal factors. However, some integrative phenomena such as McGurk interference persist even with gross spatial disparities, suggesting that spatial alignment is not necessary for robust integration of audiovisual place-of-articulation cues. It is therefore unclear how speech-cues interact with audiovisual spatial integration mechanisms. Here, we combine two well established psychophysical phenomena, the McGurk effect and the ventriloquist's illusion, to explore this dependency. Our results demonstrate that conflicting spatial cues may not interfere with audiovisual integration of speech, but conflicting speech-cues can impede integration in space. This suggests a direct but asymmetrical influence between ventral ‘what’ and dorsal ‘where’ pathways

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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