Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Can visual stimuli that go undetected, because they are presented in the extinguished region of neglect patients' visual field, nevertheless shift in their direction the apparent location of simultaneous sounds (the well-known 'ventriloquist effect')? This issue was examined using a situation in which each trial involved the simultaneous presentation of a tone over loudspeakers, together with a bright square area on either the left, the right or both sides of fixation. Participants were required to report the presence of squares, and indicate by hand pointing the apparent location of the tone. Five patients with left hemineglect consistently failed to detect the left square, either presented alone or together with another square on the right. Nevertheless, on bimodal trials with a single undetected square to the left, their sound localization was significantly shifted in the direction of that undetected square. By contrast, in bimodal trials with either a single square on the right or a square on each side, their sound localization showed only small and non-significant shifts. This particular result might be due to a combination of low discrimination of lateral sound deviations with variable individual strategies triggered by conscious detection of the right square. The important finding is the crossmodal bias produced by the undetected left visual distractors. It provides a new example of implicit processing of inputs affected by unilateral visual neglect, and on the other hand is consistent with earlier demonstrations of the automaticity of crossmodal bias. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.