Cueing the interpretation of a Necker Cube: a way to inspect fundamental cognitive processes,Cogn Process, (10 Suppl 1), S95-99.

The term perceptual bistability refers to all those conditions in which an observer looks at an ambiguous stimulus that can have two or more distinct but equally reliable interpretations. In this work, we investigate perception of Necker Cube in which bistability consists of the possibility to interpret the cube depth in two different ways. We manipulated the cube ambiguity by darkening one of the cube faces (cue) to provide a clear cube interpretation due to the occlusion depth index. When the position of the cue is stationary the cube perceived perspective is steady and driven by the cue position. However, when we alternated in time the cue position (i.e. we changed the position of the darkened cube face) two different perceptual phenomena occurred: for low frequencies the cube perspective alternated in line with the position of the cue; however for high frequencies the cue was no longer able to bias the perception but it appears as a floating feature traveling across the solid with the cube whole perspective that returns to be bistable as in the conventional, bias-free, case.

Meaningful auditory information enhances perception of visual biological motion,J Vis, 4 (9), 25 21-27.

Robust perception requires efficient integration of information from our various senses. Much recent electrophysiology points to neural areas responsive to multisensory stimulation, particularly audiovisual stimulation. However, psychophysical evidence for functional integration of audiovisual motion has been ambiguous. In this study we measure perception of an audiovisual form of biological motion, tap dancing. The results show that the audio tap information interacts with visual motion information, but only when in synchrony, demonstrating a functional combination of audiovisual information in a natural task. The advantage of multimodal combination was better than the optimal maximum likelihood prediction.

Motion perception in preterm children: role of prematurity and brain damage,Neuroreport, 15 (20), 1339-1343.

We tested 26 school-aged children born preterm at a gestational age below 34 weeks, 13 with and 13 without periventricular brain damage, with four different visual stimuli assessing perception of pure global motion (optic flow), with some form information (segregated translational motion) and form-defined static stimuli. Results were compared with a group of age-matched healthy term-born controls. Preterm children with brain damage showed significantly lower sensitivities relative to full-term controls in all four tests, whereas those without brain damage were significantly worse than controls only for the pure motion stimuli. Furthermore, when form information was embedded in the stimulus, preterm children with brain lesions scored significantly worse than those without lesions. These results suggest that in preterm children dorsal stream-related functions are impaired irrespective of the presence of brain damage, whereas deficits of the ventral stream are more related to the presence of periventricular brain damage.