Dissecting neural circuits for multisensory integration and crossmodal processing

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2015 Sep 19;370(1677):20140203. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0203.


We rely on rich and complex sensory information to perceive and understand our environment. Our multisensory experience of the world depends on the brain's remarkable ability to combine signals across sensory systems. Behavioural, neurophysiological and neuroimaging experiments have established principles of multisensory integration and candidate neural mechanisms. Here we review how targeted manipulation of neural activity using invasive and non-invasive neuromodulation techniques have advanced our understanding of multisensory processing. Neuromodulation studies have provided detailed characterizations of brain networks causally involved in multisensory integration. Despite substantial progress, important questions regarding multisensory networks remain unanswered. Critically, experimental approaches will need to be combined with theory in order to understand how distributed activity across multisensory networks collectively supports perception.

Keywords: causal; interactions; microstimulation; modulation; network; perception.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neuroimaging
  • Perception / physiology
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Systems Integration
  • Systems Theory