AUTHORS: Murray MM, Spierer L

Hearing Research, 258(1): 121-133, December 2009


Recent multisensory research has emphasized the occurrence of early, low-level interactions in humans. As such, it is proving increasingly necessary to also consider the kinds of information likely extracted from the unisensory signals that are available at the time and location of these interaction effects. This review addresses current evidence regarding how the spatio-temporal brain dynamics of auditory information processing likely curtails the information content of multisensory interactions observable in humans at a given latency and within a given brain region. First, we consider the time course of signal propagation as a limitation on when auditory information (of any kind) can impact the responsiveness of a given brain region. Next, we overview the dual pathway model for the treatment of auditory spatial and object information ranging from rudimentary to complex environmental stimuli. These dual pathways are considered an intrinsic feature of auditory information processing, which are not only partially distinct in their associated brain networks, but also (and perhaps more importantly) manifest only after several tens of milliseconds of cortical signal processing. This architecture of auditory functioning would thus pose a constraint on when and in which brain regions specific spatial and object information are available for multisensory interactions. We then separately consider evidence regarding mechanisms and dynamics of spatial and object processing with a particular emphasis on when discriminations along either dimension are likely performed by specific brain regions. We conclude by discussing open issues and directions for future research.

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