Delineating visual, auditory and motor regions in the human brain with functional neuroimaging: a BrainMap-based meta-analytic synthesis

Sci Rep. 2021 May 11;11(1):9942. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-88773-9.


Most everyday behaviors and laboratory tasks rely on visual, auditory and/or motor-related processes. Yet, to date, there has been no large-scale quantitative synthesis of functional neuroimaging studies mapping the brain regions consistently recruited during such perceptuo-motor processing. We therefore performed three coordinate-based meta-analyses, sampling the results of neuroimaging experiments on visual (n = 114), auditory (n = 122), or motor-related (n = 251) processing, respectively, from the BrainMap database. Our analyses yielded both regions known to be recruited for basic perceptual or motor processes and additional regions in posterior frontal cortex. Comparing our results with data-driven network definitions based on resting-state functional connectivity revealed good overlap in expected regions but also showed that perceptual and motor task-related activations consistently involve additional frontal, cerebellar, and subcortical areas associated with "higher-order" cognitive functions, extending beyond what is captured when the brain is at "rest." Our resulting sets of domain-typical brain regions can be used by the neuroimaging community as robust functional definitions or masks of regions of interest when investigating brain correlates of perceptual or motor processes and their interplay with other mental functions such as cognitive control or affective processing. The maps are made publicly available via the ANIMA database.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Data Management
  • Databases, Factual
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Neuroimaging
  • Visual Perception / physiology*