Speech-specific audiovisual integration modulates induced theta-band oscillations

Alma Lindborg*, Martijn Baart, Jeroen J. Stekelenburg, Jean Vroomen, Tobias S. Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Speech perception is influenced by vision through a process of audiovisual integration. This is demonstrated by the McGurk illusion where visual speech (for example /ga/) dubbed with incongruent auditory speech (such as /ba/) leads to a modified auditory percept (/da/). Recent studies have indicated that perception of the incongruent speech stimuli used in McGurk paradigms involves mechanisms of both general and audiovisual speech specific mismatch processing and that general mismatch processing modulates induced theta-band (4–8 Hz) oscillations. Here, we investigated whether the theta modulation merely reflects mismatch processing or, alternatively, audiovisual integration of speech. We used electroencephalographic recordings from two previously published studies using audiovisual sine-wave speech (SWS), a spectrally degraded speech signal sounding nonsensical to naïve perceivers but perceived as speech by informed subjects. Earlier studies have shown that informed, but not naïve subjects integrate SWS phonetically with visual speech. In an N1/P2 event-related potential paradigm, we found a significant difference in theta-band activity between informed and naïve perceivers of audiovisual speech, suggesting that audiovisual integration modulates induced theta-band oscillations. In a McGurk mismatch negativity paradigm (MMN) where infrequent McGurk stimuli were embedded in a sequence of frequent audio-visually congruent stimuli we found no difference between congruent and McGurk stimuli. The infrequent stimuli in this paradigm are violating both the general prediction of stimulus content, and that of audiovisual congruence. Hence, we found no support for the hypothesis that audiovisual mismatch modulates induced theta-band oscillations. We also did not find any effects of audiovisual integration in the MMN paradigm, possibly due to the experimental design.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0219744
Issue number7
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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