A modality-independent proto-organization of human multisensory areas

Nat Hum Behav. 2023 Mar;7(3):397-410. doi: 10.1038/s41562-022-01507-3. Epub 2023 Jan 16.


The processing of multisensory information is based upon the capacity of brain regions, such as the superior temporal cortex, to combine information across modalities. However, it is still unclear whether the representation of coherent auditory and visual events requires any prior audiovisual experience to develop and function. Here we measured brain synchronization during the presentation of an audiovisual, audio-only or video-only version of the same narrative in distinct groups of sensory-deprived (congenitally blind and deaf) and typically developed individuals. Intersubject correlation analysis revealed that the superior temporal cortex was synchronized across auditory and visual conditions, even in sensory-deprived individuals who lack any audiovisual experience. This synchronization was primarily mediated by low-level perceptual features, and relied on a similar modality-independent topographical organization of slow temporal dynamics. The human superior temporal cortex is naturally endowed with a functional scaffolding to yield a common representation across multisensory events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Brain
  • Humans
  • Temporal Lobe
  • Visual Perception*