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Eur J Neurosci. 2010 May;31(10):1713-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07206.x.

Semantic confusion regarding the development of multisensory integration: a practical solution.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1010, USA.


There is now a good deal of data from neurophysiological studies in animals and behavioral studies in human infants regarding the development of multisensory processing capabilities. Although the conclusions drawn from these different datasets sometimes appear to conflict, many of the differences are due to the use of different terms to mean the same thing and, more problematic, the use of similar terms to mean different things. Semantic issues are pervasive in the field and complicate communication among groups using different methods to study similar issues. Achieving clarity of communication among different investigative groups is essential for each to make full use of the findings of others, and an important step in this direction is to identify areas of semantic confusion. In this way investigators can be encouraged to use terms whose meaning and underlying assumptions are unambiguous because they are commonly accepted. Although this issue is of obvious importance to the large and very rapidly growing number of researchers working on multisensory processes, it is perhaps even more important to the non-cognoscenti. Those who wish to benefit from the scholarship in this field but are unfamiliar with the issues identified here are most likely to be confused by semantic inconsistencies. The current discussion attempts to document some of the more problematic of these, begin a discussion about the nature of the confusion and suggest some possible solutions.

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