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Neuroscientist. 2018 Dec;24(6):609-626. doi: 10.1177/1073858418755352. Epub 2018 Feb 9.

Neural Oscillations Orchestrate Multisensory Processing.

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1 Biological Psychology, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Kiel, Germany.
2 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, St. Hedwig Hospital, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


At any given moment, we receive input through our different sensory systems, and this information needs to be processed and integrated. Multisensory processing requires the coordinated activity of distinct cortical areas. Key mechanisms implicated in these processes include local neural oscillations and functional connectivity between distant cortical areas. Evidence is now emerging that neural oscillations in distinct frequency bands reflect different mechanisms of multisensory processing. Moreover, studies suggest that aberrant neural oscillations contribute to multisensory processing deficits in clinical populations, such as schizophrenia. In this article, we review recent literature on the neural mechanisms underlying multisensory processing, focusing on neural oscillations. We derive a framework that summarizes findings on (1) stimulus-driven multisensory processing, (2) the influence of top-down information on multisensory processing, and (3) the role of predictions for the formation of multisensory perception. We propose that different frequency band oscillations subserve complementary mechanisms of multisensory processing. These processes can act in parallel and are essential for multisensory processing.


attention; audiovisual; bottom-up; crossmodal; electrophysiology; functional connectivity; multisensory integration; top-down

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