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. 2019 Mar;31(3):360-376.
doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01246. Epub 2018 Feb 28.

Contributions of Intraindividual and Interindividual Differences to Multisensory Processes

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Contributions of Intraindividual and Interindividual Differences to Multisensory Processes

Micah M Murray et al. J Cogn Neurosci. .

Abstract

Most evidence on the neural and perceptual correlates of sensory processing derives from studies that have focused on only a single sensory modality and averaged the data from groups of participants. Although valuable, such studies ignore the substantial interindividual and intraindividual differences that are undoubtedly at play. Such variability plays an integral role in both the behavioral/perceptual realms and in the neural correlates of these processes, but substantially less is known when compared with group-averaged data. Recently, it has been shown that the presentation of stimuli from two or more sensory modalities (i.e., multisensory stimulation) not only results in the well-established performance gains but also gives rise to reductions in behavioral and neural response variability. To better understand the relationship between neural and behavioral response variability under multisensory conditions, this study investigated both behavior and brain activity in a task requiring participants to discriminate moving versus static stimuli presented in either a unisensory or multisensory context. EEG data were analyzed with respect to intraindividual and interindividual differences in RTs. The results showed that trial-by-trial variability of RTs was significantly reduced under audiovisual presentation conditions as compared with visual-only presentations across all participants. Intraindividual variability of RTs was linked to changes in correlated activity between clusters within an occipital to frontal network. In addition, interindividual variability of RTs was linked to differential recruitment of medial frontal cortices. The present findings highlight differences in the brain networks that support behavioral benefits during unisensory versus multisensory motion detection and provide an important view into the functional dynamics within neuronal networks underpinning intraindividual performance differences.

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