Bi-stable tactile stimulus shows perceptual rivalry exists across the senses

Carter, Konkle, Snyder, Moore, Hayward, Wang, & Nakayama

Motion can be experienced through both the visual and tactile modalities, and recent neuroimaging findings demonstrate that visual motion processing regions (e.g MT+) can be activated by tactile stimuli. While most studies find visual motion dominates tactile motion judgments during concurrent stimulation, if common substrates support visual and tactile motion processing independently, then crossmodal influences should exist under conditions of non-concurrent stimulation. To test the relationship between visual and tactile motion processing, we examined the transfer of motion aftereffects. We found that repeated exposure to visual motion in a given direction produced a tactile motion aftereffect, the illusion of motion in the opponent direction across the finger pad. We also observed that repeated exposure to tactile motion induced a visual motion aftereffect, biasing the perceived direction of counterphase gratings. These crossmodal aftereffects, operating both from vision to touch and from touch to vision, present strong behavioural evidence that the processing of visual and tactile motion rely on shared representations that dynamically impact modality-specific perception.

8th International Multisensory Research Forum, Sydney, Australia. 2009.