Past work has shown that when a peripheral sound captures our attention, it activates the contralateral visual cortex as revealed by an event-related potential component labelled the auditory-evoked contralateral occipital positivity (ACOP). This cross-modal activation of the visual cortex has been observed even when the sounds were not relevant to the ongoing task (visual or auditory), suggesting that peripheral sounds automatically activate the visual cortex. However, it is unclear whether top-down factors such as visual working memory (VWM) load and endogenous attention, which modulate the impact of task-irrelevant information, may modulate this spatially-specific component. Here, we asked participants to perform a lateralized VWM task (change detection), whose performance is supported by both endogenous spatial attention and VWM storage. A peripheral sound that was unrelated to the ongoing task was delivered during the retention interval. The amplitude of sound-elicited ACOP was analyzed as a function of the spatial correspondence with the cued hemifield, and of the memory array set-size. The typical ACOP modulation was observed over parieto-occipital sites in the 280–500 ms time window after sound onset. Its amplitude was not affected by VWM load but was modulated when the location of the sound did not correspond to the hemifield (right or left) that was cued for the change detection task. Our results suggest that sound-elicited activation of visual cortices, as reflected in the ACOP modulation, is unaffected by visual working memory load. However, endogenous spatial attention affects the ACOP, challenging the hypothesis that it reflects an automatic process.

Visual-cortical enhancement by acoustic distractors: The effects of endogenous spatial attention and visual working memory load

Cavicchi S.;De Cesarei A.;Valsecchi M.;Codispoti M.
2023

Abstract

Past work has shown that when a peripheral sound captures our attention, it activates the contralateral visual cortex as revealed by an event-related potential component labelled the auditory-evoked contralateral occipital positivity (ACOP). This cross-modal activation of the visual cortex has been observed even when the sounds were not relevant to the ongoing task (visual or auditory), suggesting that peripheral sounds automatically activate the visual cortex. However, it is unclear whether top-down factors such as visual working memory (VWM) load and endogenous attention, which modulate the impact of task-irrelevant information, may modulate this spatially-specific component. Here, we asked participants to perform a lateralized VWM task (change detection), whose performance is supported by both endogenous spatial attention and VWM storage. A peripheral sound that was unrelated to the ongoing task was delivered during the retention interval. The amplitude of sound-elicited ACOP was analyzed as a function of the spatial correspondence with the cued hemifield, and of the memory array set-size. The typical ACOP modulation was observed over parieto-occipital sites in the 280–500 ms time window after sound onset. Its amplitude was not affected by VWM load but was modulated when the location of the sound did not correspond to the hemifield (right or left) that was cued for the change detection task. Our results suggest that sound-elicited activation of visual cortices, as reflected in the ACOP modulation, is unaffected by visual working memory load. However, endogenous spatial attention affects the ACOP, challenging the hypothesis that it reflects an automatic process.
2023
Cavicchi S.; De Cesarei A.; Valsecchi M.; Codispoti M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/922652
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