Afferent auditory processing in the human brainstem is often assumed to be determined by acoustic stimulus features alone and immune to stimulation by other senses or cognitive factors. In contrast, we show that lipreading during speech perception influences early acoustic processing. Event-related brainstem potentials were recorded from ten healthy adults to concordant (acoustic-visual match), conflicting (acoustic-visual mismatch) and unimodal stimuli. Audiovisual (AV) interactions occurred as early as ∼11 ms post-acoustic stimulation and persisted for the first 30 ms of the response. Furthermore, the magnitude of interaction depended on AV pairings. These findings indicate considerable plasticity in early auditory processing.
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