Poster E96, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Boosting auditory pitch learning with unconscious visual information
Milton Avila1, João Pereira Leite1, Cristina Marta Del-Ben1; 1Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo
Previous studies have demonstrated that audiovisual integration may improve perceptual unisensory performance and learning. This integration occurs even when one of the sensory information is unconsciously presented, e.g. auditory semantic information may impact unconscious visual perception. In unconscious visual perception, studies have shown that the flow of information remains restricted mostly to early cortical processing, without reaching higher-order areas, such as the parieto-frontal network. Considering that multisensory interactions in the cortex may occur since early stages of processing, we hypothesized that unconscious visual presentation with no prior semantic information might improve auditory pitch learning. In this study, we tested subjects in a pitch learning paradigm. Individuals had to identify six different pitches separated by 50 cents from one another. Groups were divided according to the training: Auditory-only (A), Auditory + congruent unconscious visual (AVu), Auditory + incongruent unconscious visual (AVui). They went through a pre- and post-training pitch identification test with auditory-only information. The performance was calculated according to the Mean Absolute Deviation from the correct pitches. The results show that not only AVu group performed better during training, when the unconscious visual information was present, but also that the effect of training (improvement from pre- to post-test) was higher in the AVu group. Both control groups did not differ. These results provide a demonstration that the multisensory interactions occurring without awareness are powerful enough to boost perceptual learning. Besides, it raises new possibilities for protocols of auditory perceptual learning, especially those applied to relative and absolute pitch training.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Multisensory