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Exp Brain Res. 2005 Oct;166(3-4):298-304. Epub 2005 Aug 3.

How single-trial electrical neuroimaging contributes to multisensory research.

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Electrical Neuroimaging Group, Functional Brain Mapping Laboratory, University Hospital of Geneva, 24 Rue Micheli du Crest, 1211, Geneva, Switzerland.


This study details a method to statistically determine, on a millisecond scale and for individual subjects, those brain areas whose activity differs between experimental conditions, using single-trial scalp-recorded EEG data. To do this, we non-invasively estimated local field potentials (LFPs) using the ELECTRA distributed inverse solution and applied non-parametric statistical tests at each brain voxel and for each time point. This yields a spatio-temporal activation pattern of differential brain responses. The method is illustrated here in the analysis of auditory-somatosensory (AS) multisensory interactions in four subjects. Differential multisensory responses were temporally and spatially consistent across individuals, with onset at approximately 50 ms and superposition within areas of the posterior superior temporal cortex that have traditionally been considered auditory in their function. The close agreement of these results with previous investigations of AS multisensory interactions suggests that the present approach constitutes a reliable method for studying multisensory processing with the temporal and spatial resolution required to elucidate several existing questions in this field. In particular, the present analyses permit a more direct comparison between human and animal studies of multisensory interactions and can be extended to examine correlation between electrophysiological phenomena and behavior.

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