In two experiments, the redundancy gain paradigm (Miller, 1982) was employed to examine whether redundant visual and tactile motion signals are integrated across these two modalities, and how the spatial relationship of visual and tactile signals affects cross-modal integration. A visual motion stimulus and/or a tactile motion stimulus were presented, and participants had to identify the motion direction of stimuli from each modality as quickly as possible. It is well known that faster reaction times are observed for bimodal stimuli than for unimodal stimuli; this facilitation is termed redundancy gain (RG). The present study manipulated the spatial relationship between the visual and tactile motion stimuli to assess reaction time distributions and the magnitude of the RG. Results indicate that visual and tactile motion signals are most effectively integrated when visual and tactile stimuli are presented in the same spatial location.
When we tilt the Imai-Suto illusion, a reduced-height rectangular parallelepiped is observed. In the present study, we investigated the factors that are thought to affect the illusion. The background of the figure (e.g., cross stripes) did not affect the illusion, suggesting that the cross stripes are not an induced figure. Binocular disparity effects were suppressed in this illusion. The observed height in the monocular viewing condition was significantly shorter than that in the binocular viewing condition. The pictorial depth cues of the rectangular parallelepiped appeared to induce the illusion. We also found a related visual illusion, namely a reduced-height rectangular parallelepiped that was observed three-dimensionally in the monocular viewing condition.
It has been suggested that visual attention spreads along an object's contour. We investigated the role of contour on attentional spreading. As an index of spreading, we applied the same-object effect, where observers respond faster to targets within cued objects than to those within uncued objects. The stimuli consisted of two rectangular objects, both of which were missing one long side. The task was to detect or compare the target(s) that appeared at the end of either a cued or uncued object. In all three experiments, the same-object effect was decreased when the cued object was missing the side facing the uncued object. Moreover, this tendency was more obvious when the uncued object was also missing the side facing the cued object. These results suggest that attention spreads from the opening of the cued object to the uncued object.
Behavioral data have shown that attractive faces are better remembered but the neural mechanisms of this effect are largely unknown. To investigate this issue, female participants were scanned with event-related functional MRI (fMRI) while rating the attractiveness of male faces. Memory for the faces was tested after fMRI scanning and was used to identify successful encoding activity (subsequent memory paradigm). As expected, attractive faces were remembered better than other faces. The study yielded three main fMRI findings. First, activity in the right orbitofrontal cortex increased linearly as a function of attractiveness ratings. Second, activity in the left hippocampus increased as a function of subsequent memory (subsequent misses, low confidence hits, and high confidence hits). Third, functional connectivity between these orbitofrontal and hippocampal regions was stronger during the encoding of attractive than neutral or unattractive faces. These results suggest that better memory for attractive faces reflects greater interaction between a region associated with reward, the orbitofrontal cortex, and a region associated with successful memory encoding, the hippocampus.
The current paper reviews recent studies on spontaneous social cognition in typically developing children, and its atypical development in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In typically developing infants, spontaneous attribution of mental states develops by the second year of life, well before they pass standard theory of mind tests that involves verbal instruction. By contrast, individuals with ASD, even those who can easily pass standard theory of mind tests, do not show spontaneous mental state attribution. The absence of spontaneous social cognition in ASD can be observed in different social cognitive skills such as motor mimicry and gaze processing, suggesting the critical role of the spontaneous social cognition in the adaptive social behaviour.