Gamma-band responses (GBRs) are hypothesized to reflect neuronal synchronous activity related to activation of object representations. However, it is not known whether synchrony in the gamma range is also related to multisensory object processing. We investigated the effect of semantic congruity between auditory and visual information on the human GBR. The paradigm consisted of a simultaneous presentation of pictures and vocalizations of animals, which were either congruent or incongruent. EEG was measured in 17 students while they attended either the auditory or the visual stimulus and performed a recognition task. Behavioral results showed a congruity effect, indicating that information from the unattended modality affected behavior. Irrelevant visual information affected auditory recognition more than irrelevant auditory information affected visual recognition, suggesting a bias toward reliance on visual information in object recognition. Whereas the evoked (phase-locked) GBR was unaffected by congruity, the induced (non-phase-locked) GBR was increased for congruent compared with incongruent stimuli. This effect was independent of the attended modality. The results show that integration of information across modalities, based on semantic congruity, is associated with enhanced synchronized oscillations at the gamma band. This suggests that gamma-band oscillations are related not only to low-level unimodal integration but also to the formation of object representations at conceptual multisensory levels.
- Event-related potentials
- Object recognition