Integrating information from different senses in the auditory cortex.
King AJ., Walker KM.
Multisensory integration was once thought to be the domain of brain areas high in the cortical hierarchy, with early sensory cortical fields devoted to unisensory processing of inputs from their given set of sensory receptors. More recently, a wealth of evidence documenting visual and somatosensory responses in auditory cortex, even as early as the primary fields, has changed this view of cortical processing. These multisensory inputs may serve to enhance responses to sounds that are accompanied by other sensory cues, effectively making them easier to hear, but may also act more selectively to shape the receptive field properties of auditory cortical neurons to the location or identity of these events. We discuss the new, converging evidence that multiplexing of neural signals may play a key role in informatively encoding and integrating signals in auditory cortex across multiple sensory modalities. We highlight some of the many open research questions that exist about the neural mechanisms that give rise to multisensory integration in auditory cortex, which should be addressed in future experimental and theoretical studies.