Challenges in quantifying multisensory integration: alternative criteria, models, and inverse effectiveness

Exp Brain Res. 2009 Sep;198(2-3):113-26. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-1880-8. Epub 2009 Jun 24.


Single-neuron studies provide a foundation for understanding many facets of multisensory integration. These studies have used a variety of criteria for identifying and quantifying multisensory integration. While a number of techniques have been used, an explicit discussion of the assumptions, criteria, and analytical methods traditionally used to define the principles of multisensory integration is lacking. This was not problematic when the field was small, but with rapid growth a number of alternative techniques and models have been introduced, each with its own criteria and sets of implicit assumptions to define and characterize what is thought to be the same phenomenon. The potential for misconception prompted this reexamination of traditional approaches in order to clarify their underlying assumptions and analytic techniques. The objective here is to review and discuss traditional quantitative methods advanced in the study of single-neuron physiology in order to appreciate the process of multisensory integration and its impact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Research Design
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology