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Influence of behavioral situation on multisensory perception: a multidisciplinary approach – IBM

Influence of Behavioral situation on Multisensory perception

Influence of Behavioral situation on Multisensory perception: a multidisciplinary approach

Understanding the neuronal mechanisms underlying the integration of multiple sensory modalities

The main objective of this project is to characterize the neural mechanisms involved in multisensory perception. This ambitious project is at the crossing of sensory physiology, cognitive systems and sensorimotor interactions. The translational specificity of this project is designed to understand the mechanisms underlying multimodal perception with logic links in the field of cortical plasticity in compensatory mechanisms between sensory modality. <br /><br />

In order to clarify the fundamental properties and specificity of the multisensory integration network, this project will use a multi-scale approach in humans and monkeys from behavior to neuronal activity.

Ongoing

This multidisciplinary approach will allow addressing the behavioral aspects as well as the neurophysiology aspects and the neural code underpinning multisensory interactions. Only a systematic and cross-sectional study may provide a better understanding of multisensory interactions.

Ongoing

The main objective of IBM project is to characterize the neural mechanisms involved in multisensory perception. The psychophysical data showed that multimodal stimulation can improve perception by reducing ambiguities which translates into increased capability for detection and discrimination of bimodal stimuli. So far, the dogmatic concept postulated that multisensory integration was a feature that only the associative areas in the top of the hierarchy of information processing have. But recently anatomical connectivity studies I conducted in primates and recent data from brain imaging in humans have revealed the presence of phenomena of multisensory interactions also at early stages of sensory processing. Accordingly, we are facing with a highly complex neural network involved in multisensory interactions, which includes cortical pathways and thalamo-cortical loops. The diversity of interactions observed throughout the thalamus and the sensory cortical areas foster a distributed system whose specific role is still to be determined. In this context, it is still unknown if the multisensory processes are organized across the brain in a hierarchical manner and how it is related to the well known hierarchical organization of the single sensory modalities which are in addition composed of distinct functional streams. Furthermore, based on anatomical grounds, the thalamic nuclei, including the medial pulvinar, are now considered as a potential locus for multisensory integration in addition to their role as a hub in allowing the convergence of sensory modalities at the cortical level.
In order to clarify the fundamental properties and specificity of the multisensory integration network, I will conduct a multi-scale approach in humans and monkeys from behavior to neuronal activity. First, to tackle the hierarchical and functional structure of the distributed multisensory network I will compare the pattern of cortical activity across a variety of behavioral tasks known to rely on specialized structures or functional streams in a single sensory channel (detection, discrimination, location). This approach will be done in parallel in humans and monkeys and behavioral data will be tested with theoretical models (race model) with the ultimate aim of highlighting the common rules governing principles of sensory fusion to both species. The electrophysiological approach will be based on EEG analysis in humans and electrophysiological unit recordings in the awake monkey. The medial pulvinar, which is a unique interface between motor and multisensory integration will be the target of neuronal recordings in monkeys. This multidisciplinary approach will allow addressing the behavioral aspects as well as the neurophysiology aspects and the neural code underpinning multisensory interactions. Only a systematic and cross-sectional study may provide a better understanding of multisensory interactions.
As a result, IBM is an ambitious project at the crossing of sensory physiology, cognitive systems and sensorimotor interactions. The translational specificity of IBM is designed to understand the mechanisms underlying multimodal perception with logic links in the field of cortical plasticity in compensatory mechanisms between sensory modality.

Project coordinator

Madame Céline CAPPE (Centre de recherche Cerveau et Cognition) – celine.cappe@cnrs.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

CerCo Centre de recherche Cerveau et Cognition

Help of the ANR 354,225 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2012 - 36 Months

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