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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 475427, 17 pages
Research Article

A Neural Network Model Can Explain Ventriloquism Aftereffect and Its Generalization across Sound Frequencies

Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering “Guglielmo Marconi”, University of Bologna, Via Venezia 52, 47521 Cesena, Italy

Received 29 April 2013; Revised 28 August 2013; Accepted 28 August 2013

Academic Editor: James A. Bourne

Copyright © 2013 Elisa Magosso et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Exposure to synchronous but spatially disparate auditory and visual stimuli produces a perceptual shift of sound location towards the visual stimulus (ventriloquism effect). After adaptation to a ventriloquism situation, enduring sound shift is observed in the absence of the visual stimulus (ventriloquism aftereffect). Experimental studies report opposing results as to aftereffect generalization across sound frequencies varying from aftereffect being confined to the frequency used during adaptation to aftereffect generalizing across some octaves. Here, we present an extension of a model of visual-auditory interaction we previously developed. The new model is able to simulate the ventriloquism effect and, via Hebbian learning rules, the ventriloquism aftereffect and can be used to investigate aftereffect generalization across frequencies. The model includes auditory neurons coding both for the spatial and spectral features of the auditory stimuli and mimicking properties of biological auditory neurons. The model suggests that different extent of aftereffect generalization across frequencies can be obtained by changing the intensity of the auditory stimulus that induces different amounts of activation in the auditory layer. The model provides a coherent theoretical framework to explain the apparently contradictory results found in the literature. Model mechanisms and hypotheses are discussed in relation to neurophysiological and psychophysical data.