The processing of visual and haptic inputs, occurring either separately or jointly, is crucial for everyday-life object recognition, and has been a focus of recent neuroimaging research. Previously, visuohaptic convergence has been mostly investigated with matching-task paradigms. However, much less is known about visuohaptic convergence in the absence of additional task demands. We conducted two functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments in which subjects actively touched and/or viewed unfamiliar object stimuli without any additional task demands. In addition, we performed two control experiments with audiovisual and audiohaptic stimulation to examine the specificity of the observed visuohaptic convergence effects. We found robust visuohaptic convergence in bilateral lateral occipital cortex and anterior cerebellum. In contrast, neither the anterior cerebellum nor the lateral occipital cortex showed any involvement in audiovisual or audiohaptic convergence, indicating that multisensory convergence in these regions is specifically geared to visual and haptic inputs. These data suggest that in humans the lateral occipital cortex and the anterior cerebellum play an important role in visuohaptic processing even in the absence of additional task demands.
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- AUDIOVISUAL INTEGRATION, CEREBELLUM, FMRI, HUMAN BRAIN, INFORMATION, LATERAL OCCIPITAL COMPLEX, MULTISENSORY INTEGRATION, OBJECT RECOGNITION, PERIRHINAL CORTEX, TACTILE, crossmodel, fMRI, haptics, multisensory, object, vision