Effects of Increasing Stimulated Area in Spatiotemporally Congruent Unisensory and Multisensory Conditions

Chiara Martolini, Giulia Cappagli, Sabrina Signorini, Monica Gori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research has shown that the ability to integrate complementary sensory inputs into a unique and coherent percept based on spatiotemporal coincidence can improve perceptual precision, namely multisensory integration. Despite the extensive research on multisensory integration, very little is known about the principal mechanisms responsible for the spatial interaction of multiple sensory stimuli. Furthermore, it is not clear whether the size of spatialized stimulation can affect unisensory and multisensory perception. The present study aims to unravel whether the stimulated area's increase has a detrimental or beneficial effect on sensory threshold. Sixteen typical adults were asked to discriminate unimodal (visual, auditory, tactile), bimodal (audio-visual, audio-tactile, visuo-tactile) and trimodal (audio-visual-tactile) stimulation produced by one, two, three or four devices positioned on the forearm. Results related to unisensory conditions indicate that the increase of the stimulated area has a detrimental effect on auditory and tactile accuracy and visual reaction times, suggesting that the size of stimulated areas affects these perceptual stimulations. Concerning multisensory stimulation, our findings indicate that integrating auditory and tactile information improves sensory precision only when the stimulation area is augmented to four devices, suggesting that multisensory interaction is occurring for expanded spatial areas.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 9 2021


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