Super- and subadditive neural processing of dynamic auditory-visual objects in the presence of congruent odors.

Research paper by Kathrin K Ohla, Richard R Höchenberger, Jessica J Freiherr, Johan N JN Lundström

Indexed on: 19 Oct '17Published on: 19 Oct '17Published in: Chemical senses


Our sensory experiences comprise a variety of different inputs at any given time. Some of these experiences are unmistakable, others are ambiguous and profit from additional sensory information. Here, we explored whether the presence of a congruent odor influences the neural processing and sensory interaction of audio-visual objects using degraded videos (V) and sounds (A) of dynamic objects in unimodal and bimodal (AV) combinations without or with a congruent odor (VO, AO, AVO). Analyses of EEG data revealed super- and subadditive interaction effects. The topography and timing of these effects suggest evaluative rather than sensory processes as the underlying cause. Together, the results suggest that the mere presence of an odor affects the processing of A, V, and AV objects differently while multisensory interactions of AV and AVO objects have common neuronal mechanisms pointing to a robust, modality-independent network for the processing of redundant sensory information.