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      Rapidly induced auditory plasticity: the ventriloquism aftereffect.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
      Adult, Animals, Auditory Cortex, physiology, Brain Mapping, Female, Humans, Male, Neuronal Plasticity, Sound Localization

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          Cortical representational plasticity has been well documented after peripheral and central injuries or improvements in perceptual and motor abilities. This has led to inferences that the changes in cortical representations parallel and account for the improvement in performance during the period of skill acquisition. There have also been several examples of rapidly induced changes in cortical neuronal response properties, for example, by intracortical microstimulation or by classical conditioning paradigms. This report describes similar rapidly induced changes in a cortically mediated perception in human subjects, the ventriloquism aftereffect, which presumably reflects a corresponding change in the cortical representation of acoustic space. The ventriloquism aftereffect describes an enduring shift in the perception of the spatial location of acoustic stimuli after a period of exposure of spatially disparate and simultaneously presented acoustic and visual stimuli. Exposure of a mismatch of 8 degrees for 20-30 min is sufficient to shift the perception of acoustic space by approximately the same amount across subjects and acoustic frequencies. Given that the cerebral cortex is necessary for the perception of acoustic space, it is likely that the ventriloquism aftereffect reflects a change in the cortical representation of acoustic space. Comparisons between the responses of single cortical neurons in the behaving macaque monkey and the stimulus parameters that give rise to the ventriloquism aftereffect suggest that the changes in the cortical representation of acoustic space may begin as early as the primary auditory cortex.

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          Adult,Animals,Auditory Cortex,physiology,Brain Mapping,Female,Humans,Male,Neuronal Plasticity,Sound Localization


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