Visuotactile motion congruence enhances gamma-band activity in visual and somatosensory cortices

Neuroimage. 2015 Aug 15;117:160-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.05.056. Epub 2015 May 28.


When touching and viewing a moving surface our visual and somatosensory systems receive congruent spatiotemporal input. Behavioral studies have shown that motion congruence facilitates interplay between visual and tactile stimuli, but the neural mechanisms underlying this interplay are not well understood. Neural oscillations play a role in motion processing and multisensory integration. They may also be crucial for visuotactile motion processing. In this electroencephalography study, we applied linear beamforming to examine the impact of visuotactile motion congruence on beta and gamma band activity (GBA) in visual and somatosensory cortices. Visual and tactile inputs comprised of gratings that moved either in the same or different directions. Participants performed a target detection task that was unrelated to motion congruence. While there were no effects in the beta band (13-21Hz), the power of GBA (50-80Hz) in visual and somatosensory cortices was larger for congruent compared with incongruent motion stimuli. This suggests enhanced bottom-up multisensory processing when visual and tactile gratings moved in the same direction. Supporting its behavioral relevance, GBA was correlated with shorter reaction times in the target detection task. We conclude that motion congruence plays an important role for the integrative processing of visuotactile stimuli in sensory cortices, as reflected by oscillatory responses in the gamma band.

Keywords: Bottom-up; EEG; Multisensory; Oscillations; Virtual electrodes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Gamma Rhythm*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Touch Perception / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*