Effetti dell'integrazione visuo-acustica in pazienti con disturbo di campo visivo

Passamonti, Claudia (2009) Effetti dell'integrazione visuo-acustica in pazienti con disturbo di campo visivo, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Psicologia generale e clinica, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1430.
Documenti full-text disponibili:
Documento PDF (Italiano) - Richiede un lettore di PDF come Xpdf o Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (4MB) | Anteprima


Human brain is provided with a flexible audio-visual system, which interprets and guides responses to external events according to spatial alignment, temporal synchronization and effectiveness of unimodal signals. The aim of the present thesis was to explore the possibility that such a system might represent the neural correlate of sensory compensation after a damage to one sensory pathway. To this purpose, three experimental studies have been conducted, which addressed the immediate, short-term and long-term effects of audio-visual integration on patients with Visual Field Defect (VFD). Experiment 1 investigated whether the integration of stimuli from different modalities (cross-modal) and from the same modality (within-modal) have a different, immediate effect on localization behaviour. Patients had to localize modality-specific stimuli (visual or auditory), cross-modal stimulus pairs (visual-auditory) and within-modal stimulus pairs (visual-visual). Results showed that cross-modal stimuli evoked a greater improvement than within modal stimuli, consistent with a Bayesian explanation. Moreover, even when visual processing was impaired, cross-modal stimuli improved performance in an optimal fashion. These findings support the hypothesis that the improvement derived from multisensory integration is not attributable to simple target redundancy, and prove that optimal integration of cross-modal signals occurs in processing stage which are not consciously accessible. Experiment 2 examined the possibility to induce a short term improvement of localization performance without an explicit knowledge of visual stimulus. Patients with VFD and patients with neglect had to localize weak sounds before and after a brief exposure to a passive cross-modal stimulation, which comprised spatially disparate or spatially coincident audio-visual stimuli. After exposure to spatially disparate stimuli in the affected field, only patients with neglect exhibited a shifts of auditory localization toward the visual attractor (the so called Ventriloquism After-Effect). In contrast, after adaptation to spatially coincident stimuli, both neglect and hemianopic patients exhibited a significant improvement of auditory localization, proving the occurrence of After Effect for multisensory enhancement. These results suggest the presence of two distinct recalibration mechanisms, each mediated by a different neural route: a geniculo-striate circuit and a colliculus-extrastriate circuit respectively. Finally, Experiment 3 verified whether a systematic audio-visual stimulation could exert a long-lasting effect on patients’ oculomotor behaviour. Eye movements responses during a visual search task and a reading task were studied before and after visual (control) or audio-visual (experimental) training, in a group of twelve patients with VFD and twelve controls subjects. Results showed that prior to treatment, patients’ performance was significantly different from that of controls in relation to fixations and saccade parameters; after audiovisual training, all patients reported an improvement in ocular exploration characterized by fewer fixations and refixations, quicker and larger saccades, and reduced scanpath length. Similarly, reading parameters were significantly affected by the training, with respect to specific impairments observed in left and right hemisphere–damaged patients. The present findings provide evidence that a systematic audio-visual stimulation may encourage a more organized pattern of visual exploration with long lasting effects. In conclusion, results from these studies clearly demonstrate that the beneficial effects of audio-visual integration can be retained in absence of explicit processing of visual stimulus. Surprisingly, an improvement of spatial orienting can be obtained not only when a on-line response is required, but also after either a brief or a long adaptation to audio-visual stimulus pairs, so suggesting the maintenance of mechanisms subserving cross-modal perceptual learning after a damage to geniculo-striate pathway. The colliculus-extrastriate pathway, which is spared in patients with VFD, seems to play a pivotal role in this sensory compensation.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Passamonti, Claudia
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze umanistiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Audio-Visual integration; Visual Field Defect; Neurorehabilitation
Data di discussione
27 Aprile 2009

Altri metadati

Statistica sui download

Gestione del documento: Visualizza la tesi