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Chandrasekaran, Chandramouli; Lemus, Luis; Ghazanfar, Asif A (2013)

DYNAMIC FACES SPEED UP THE ONSET OF AUDITORY CORTICAL SPIKING RESPONSES DURING VOCAL DETECTION

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110(48):E4668-E4677
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How low-level sensory areas help mediate the detection and discrimination advantages of integrating faces and voices is the subject of intense debate. To gain insights, we investigated the role of the auditory cortex in face/voice integration in macaque monkeys performing a vocal-detection task. Behaviorally, subjects were slower to detect vocalizations as the signal-to-noise ratio decreased, but seeing mouth movements associated with vocalizations sped up detection. Paralleling this behavioral relationship, as the signal to noise ratio decreased, the onset of spiking responses were delayed and magnitudes were decreased. However, when mouth motion accompanied the vocalization, these responses were uniformly faster. Conversely, and at odds with previous assumptions regarding the neural basis of face/voice integration, changes in the magnitude of neural responses were not related consistently to audiovisual behavior. Taken together, our data reveal that facilitation of spike latency is a means by which the auditory cortex partially mediates the reaction time benefits of combining faces and voices.