Current perspectives and methods in studying neural mechanisms of multisensory interactions

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Jan;36(1):111-33. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.04.015. Epub 2011 May 4.


In the past decade neuroscience has witnessed major advances in the field of multisensory interactions. A large body of research has revealed several new types of cross-sensory interactions. In addition, multisensory interactions have been reported at temporal and spatial system levels previously thought of as strictly unimodal. We review the findings that have led to the current broad consensus that most, if not all, higher, as well as lower level neural processes are in some form multisensory. We continue by outlining the progress that has been made in identifying the functional significance of different types of interactions, for example, in subserving stimulus binding and enhancement of perceptual certainty. Finally, we provide a critical introduction to cutting edge methods from bayes optimal integration to multivoxel pattern analysis as applied to multisensory research at different system levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping* / methods
  • Brain Mapping* / trends
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Sensation*