Spatial and frequency specificity of the ventriloquism aftereffect revisited
Exposure to audiovisual stimuli with a consistent spatial misalignment seems to result in a recalibration of unisensory auditory spatial representations. The previous studies have suggested that this so-called ventriloquism aftereffect is confined to the trained region of space, but yielded inconsistent results as to whether or not recalibration generalizes to untrained sound frequencies. Here, we reassessed the spatial and frequency specificity of the ventriloquism aftereffect by testing whether auditory spatial perception can be independently recalibrated for two different sound frequencies and/or at two different spatial locations. Recalibration was confined to locations within the trained hemifield, suggesting that spatial representations were independently adjusted for the two hemifields. The frequency specificity of the ventriloquism aftereffect depended on the presence or the absence of conflicting audiovisual adaptation stimuli within the same hemifield. Moreover, adaptation of two different sound frequencies in opposite directions (leftward vs. rightward) resulted in a selective suppression of leftward recalibration, even when the adapting stimuli were presented in different hemifields. Thus, instead of representing a fixed stimulus-driven process, cross-modal recalibration seems to critically depend on the sensory context and takes into account inconsistencies in the cross-modal input.
This research was supported by Grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG) [BR 4913/2-1 to P.B. and TRR 169 A1 to B.R.]. We thank Philipp Dehmel, Alexander Gornik and Samantha Schröder for help running participants.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.