INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES OF MULTISENSORY INTEGRATION: FROM SINGLE UNITS TO PERCEPTION

  • Mark T. Wallace

Abstract


The integration of information from multiple sensory sources is a ubiquitous and highlyadaptive process that can dramatically alter behavior and shape perception. Neurophysiological studies in animal models and in human subjects have begun to reveal the combinatorial rules by which neurons and networks combine this multisensory information to create a coherent perceptual unity. In addition, recent work has highlighted that the development of multisensory circuits is strongly shaped by early sensory experience, and has the capacity for significant plasticity. Most recently, studies have begun to focus on the plastic potential of adult multisensory processes. This work has found that significant plasticity can be engendered in adult multisensory systems, but only by coupling changes in the statistical relations of the combined stimuli with reinforcement. Such findings have significant implications for our understanding of basic integrative processes and have shed important light in bridging between neuronal and perceptual levels of analysis.
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