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Neuropsychologia. 2000;38(2):115-24.

The functional anatomy of visual-tactile integration in man: a study using positron emission tomography.

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Imperial College, School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.


The integration of neural signals from different sensory modalities is a prerequisite for many cognitive and behavioural functions. In this study, we have mapped the functional anatomy of the integration of sensory signals across the tactile and visual modalities. Using the PET radiotracer H2(15)O, regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) changes were measured in eight normal volunteers performing crossmodal recognition of simultaneously presented visual and tactile stimuli using a modified version of the 'arc-circle test'. Whilst intramodal matching within the visual modality led to relative rCBF increases in the visual association cortex, crossmodal matching (visual-tactile), when compared to intramodal matching, was accompanied by relative rCBF increases in the anterior cingulate cortex, inferior parietal lobules, the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the left claustrum/insular cortex. The pattern of brain activation is congruent with areas of heteromodal and supramodal cortex and indicates that activation of multimodal areas is required to solve the crossmodal problem.

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