A Caltech Library Service

Multisensory Congruency as a Mechanism for Attentional Control over Perceptual Selection

van Ee, Raymond and van Boxtel, Jeroen J. A. and Parker, Amanda L. and Alais, David (2009) Multisensory Congruency as a Mechanism for Attentional Control over Perceptual Selection. Journal of Neuroscience, 29 (37). pp. 11641-11649. ISSN 0270-6474. PMCID PMC6665778.

PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The neural mechanisms underlying attentional selection of competing neural signals for awareness remains an unresolved issue. We studied attentional selection, using perceptually ambiguous stimuli in a novel multisensory paradigm that combined competing auditory and competing visual stimuli. We demonstrate that the ability to select, and attentively hold, one of the competing alternatives in either sensory modality is greatly enhanced when there is a matching cross-modal stimulus. Intriguingly, this multimodal enhancement of attentional selection seems to require a conscious act of attention, as passively experiencing the multisensory stimuli did not enhance control over the stimulus. We also demonstrate that congruent auditory or tactile information, and combined auditory–tactile information, aids attentional control over competing visual stimuli and visa versa. Our data suggest a functional role for recently found neurons that combine voluntarily initiated attentional functions across sensory modalities. We argue that these units provide a mechanism for structuring multisensory inputs that are then used to selectively modulate early (unimodal) cortical processing, boosting the gain of task-relevant features for willful control over perceptual awareness.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
van Boxtel, Jeroen J. A.0000-0003-2643-0474
Additional Information:© 2009 Society for Neuroscience. Received Feb. 20, 2009; revised Aug. 1, 2009; accepted Aug. 6, 2009. This work was financially supported by a High potential grant of Utrecht University to R.v.E. J.v.B. was partly supported by the Rubicon grant of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. We thank our colleagues and a reviewer for helpful comments.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Utrecht UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:37
PubMed Central ID:PMC6665778
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20091012-131200471
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Raymond van Ee, Jeroen J. A. van Boxtel, Amanda L. Parker, and David Alais Multisensory Congruency as a Mechanism for Attentional Control over Perceptual Selection J. Neurosci. 29: 11641-11649; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0873-09.2009
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16248
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:12 Oct 2009 22:43
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 01:09

Repository Staff Only: item control page