Sound and Light Show

Sounds trigger a response in the visual cortex that predicts how accurately a person can identify a visual target.

Tracy Vence

SOUND AND VISION: A noise activates the visual cortex (colored spot), which helps a viewer identify an object at the sound’s source. WENFENG FENG


The paper
W. Feng et al., “Sounds activate visual cortex and improve visual discrimination,” J Neurosci, 34:9817-24, 2014.

The context
Noticeable sounds activate neurons in the visual cortex, helping us make out visual targets at the location the sounds came from. Wenfeng Feng of SooChow University in China and colleagues last year observed neural correlates of such sensory tag-teaming in human brain recordings: an activation in the visual cortex of the brain hemisphere opposite the source of the sound, called the auditory-evoked contralateral occipital positivity (ACOP).

The experiment
To figure out how ACOP functions, Feng’s group used electroencephalography (EEG) to study the performance of 16 volunteers. Each participant heard a noise from a speaker on the left or right side of...

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