"McGurk illusion" to bilateral administration of sensory stimuli in patients with hemispatial neglect

Nachum Soroker, Nir Calamaro, Michael Myslobodsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The illusion of McGurk (Nature 264, 746-748, 1976) refers to the blending of conflicting audio-visual messages. By taking advantage of this phenomenon the study explored whether visual cues (i.e. manner of articulation) in ipsilesional (right) space would help a patient with auditory neglect to mentally reconstruct syllabic sounds voiced in contralesional (left) space. We examined seven patients with clinically detectable visual neglect following right hemisphere damage. All had signs of auditory neglect as documented by the inferior identification of syllables delivered through a loudspeaker on the left side. In contrast, syllabic sounds delivered contralesionally together with visual stimuli in the ipsilesional space significantly increased identification of "neglected" syllabic sounds. Of the increased responses, 23% were classified as illusory blends, thereby suggesting that manner of articulation provides a valuable clue as to the possible "best fit" for a consonant. The susceptibility to the blend illusion was identical in patients and controls. Results indicate that neglected auditory stimuli are retrieved in patients with right hemisphere lesion by the mechanism of the ventriloquist illusion in the presence of a carefully timed sequence of comparisons of auditory signals in the neglected space with visual signals in the attended space. The possibility that neuronal mechanisms that serve audio-visual merger in spatial localization are also utilized for processing speech distinctions is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-470
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995


  • McGurk illusion
  • audio-visual neglect
  • ventriloquist illusion


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