The Neural Bases of Multisensory Processing
Edited by Micah M. Murray and Mark T. Wallace
It has become accepted in the neuroscience community that perception and performance are quintessentially multisensory by nature. Using the full palette of modern brain imaging and neuroscience methods, The Neural Bases of Multisensory Processes details current understanding in the neural bases for these phenomena as studied across species, stages of development, and clinical statuses.
Organized thematically into nine sub-sections, the book is a collection of contributions by leading scientists in the field. Chapters build generally from basic to applied, allowing readers to ascertain how fundamental science informs the clinical and applied sciences.
Topics discussed include:
- Anatomy, essential for understanding the neural substrates of multisensory processing
- Neurophysiological bases and how multisensory stimuli can dramatically change the encoding processes for sensory information
- Combinatorial principles and modeling, focusing on efforts to gain a better mechanistic handle on multisensory operations and their network dynamics
- Development and plasticity
- Clinical manifestations and how perception and action are affected by altered sensory experience
- Attention and spatial representations
The last sections of the book focus on naturalistic multisensory processes in three separate contexts: motion signals, multisensory contributions to the perception and generation of communication signals, and how the perception of flavor is generated. The text provides a solid introduction for newcomers and a strong overview of the current state of the field for experts.
What we study
Our laboratory studies how the brain combines and synthesizes information from the different sensory systems.
The relevance of our work
Given that we live in a world in which we are continually bombarded with information provided by our different sensory systems, such "multisensory integration" is a ubiquitous phenomenon. The utility of multisensory interactions is illustrated by the numerous studies from our lab and others that have highlighted the important role these processes play in altering our behaviors and shaping our perceptions. In addition, our lab (along with others) are beginning to highlight the important role altered multisensory function plays in clinical conditions such as autism and schizophrenia. The following video highlights some of this work in children with autism.
Impact through multidisciplinary research
Ultimately, we are interested in providing a more complete understanding of how multisensory processes impact our behaviors and perceptions, in better elucidating the neural substrates for these interactions, and in understanding how multisensory processes develop and are influenced by sensory experience. We study these fundamental questions using a multidisciplinary set of approaches, including animal behavior, human psychophysics, neuroimaging (ERP and fMRI) and neurophysiological techniques. Along with our interest in the brain bases for multisensory processes under normal circumstances, we are also interested in examining how multisensory circuits are altered in an array of clinical conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder and developmental dyslexia. For a more detailed description of the ongoing research projects in the laboratory, click on the Research link.