Multisensory integration in macaque visual cortex depends on cue reliability

Neuron. 2008 Aug 28;59(4):662-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.06.024.


Responses of multisensory neurons to combinations of sensory cues are generally enhanced or depressed relative to single cues presented alone, but the rules that govern these interactions have remained unclear. We examined integration of visual and vestibular self-motion cues in macaque area MSTd in response to unimodal as well as congruent and conflicting bimodal stimuli in order to evaluate hypothetical combination rules employed by multisensory neurons. Bimodal responses were well fit by weighted linear sums of unimodal responses, with weights typically less than one (subadditive). Surprisingly, our results indicate that weights change with the relative reliabilities of the two cues: visual weights decrease and vestibular weights increase when visual stimuli are degraded. Moreover, both modulation depth and neuronal discrimination thresholds improve for matched bimodal compared to unimodal stimuli, which might allow for increased neural sensitivity during multisensory stimulation. These findings establish important new constraints for neural models of cue integration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cues
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Kinesthesis / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Mental Processes / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / cytology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*