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Sensory interaction: Evoked potential observations in man

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Polysensory averaged evoked potentials were evaluated as a function of the interval between a flash and a click which followed it at intervals ranging from 20—120 msec. This was done in two experimental series in each of which the subject's task was to respond manually to the flash. One of these required a choice reaction, namely, withholding of motor response when click was occasionally presented alone.

Both evoked potential amplitude and reaction times showed a linear relationship to interstimulus interval; at shorter intervals, the amplitude of the polysensory evoked response was higher and reaction times were faster.

Topographical analysis indicated that the electrophysiological findings were more consistently obtained in recordings from transverse bipolar leads than from pairs in the anterior-posterior plane. Responses recorded from the left motor region (contralateral to the arm employed in the manual response) showed the effect more consistently than did those from the homotopic recording site on the right motor cortex.

Ratios were calculated between the amplitude of the obtained polysensory evoked responses and a theoretical one expected by algebraic addition of the responses to the two stimuli as presented singly. It was found that ratios were consistently higher for the left motor region when compared to the right. Only at the left was there a reliable relationship between interstimulus interval and the calculated ratio, with values greater than one at short interstimulus intervals and a linear decrement in the ratio value as interstimulus interval lengthened.

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Morrell, L.K. Sensory interaction: Evoked potential observations in man. Exp Brain Res 6, 146–155 (1968).

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Key Words

  • Multisensory
  • Evoked potential
  • Reaction time