Human olfactory-auditory integration requires phase synchrony between sensory cortices

Nat Commun. 2019 Mar 11;10(1):1168. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09091-3.


Multisensory integration is particularly important in the human olfactory system, which is highly dependent on non-olfactory cues, yet its underlying neural mechanisms are not well understood. In this study, we use intracranial electroencephalography techniques to record neural activity in auditory and olfactory cortices during an auditory-olfactory matching task. Spoken cues evoke phase locking between low frequency oscillations in auditory and olfactory cortices prior to odor arrival. This phase synchrony occurs only when the participant's later response is correct. Furthermore, the phase of low frequency oscillations in both auditory and olfactory cortical areas couples to the amplitude of high-frequency oscillations in olfactory cortex during correct trials. These findings suggest that phase synchrony is a fundamental mechanism for integrating cross-modal odor processing and highlight an important role for primary olfactory cortical areas in multisensory integration with the olfactory system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / instrumentation
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cues
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / therapy
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olfactory Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Olfactory Cortex / physiology*
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed