Assessing the Functional Role of Motor Response During the Integration Process

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to provide evidence that actions performed by an individual influence the sensorimotor memory processing and, in particular, the integration process. We conducted 3 experiments that highlighted the multimodal aspect of memory traces. The 1st experiment consisted of a short-term priming paradigm based on 2 phases: a learning phase, consisting of the association between a shape and a sound, and a test phase, examining the priming effect of the shape seen in the learning phase on the processing of target tones. The participants’ motor response became a factor in Experiments 2 and 3, allowing us to observe its influence on the integration between the shape and the sound. In Experiment 1, we showed that (a) the prime associated with the sound in the learning phase had an effect on target processing and (b) the component reactivated by the prime was perceptual in nature (i.e., auditory). Experiment 2 showed that the participants’ responses were faster when the association of a shape and a sound had been learned with a motor response rather than without. Experiment 3 showed that the integration process required the individual to act while learning the association between the shape and the sound; otherwise no integration effect was observed. Our results highlight the role of motor responses as a necessary criterion for the integration process to take place.

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