AUTHORS: Gaglianese A, Branco MP, Groen I, Vansteensel MJ, Murray MM, Petridou N, Ramsey NF

Brain Topography, 33(5): 559-570, September 2020


There is ongoing debate regarding the extent to which human cortices are specialized for processing a given sensory input versus a given type of information, independently of the sensory source. Many neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies have reported that primary and extrastriate visual cortices respond to tactile and auditory stimulation, in addition to visual inputs, suggesting these cortices are intrinsically multisensory. In particular for tactile responses, few studies have proven neuronal processes in visual cortex in humans. Here, we assessed tactile responses in both low-level and extrastriate visual cortices using electrocorticography recordings in a human participant. Specifically, we observed significant spectral power increases in the high frequency band (30–100 Hz) in response to tactile stimuli, reportedly associated with spiking neuronal activity, in both low-level visual cortex (i.e. V2) and in the anterior part of the lateral occipital–temporal cortex. These sites were both involved in processing tactile information and responsive to visual stimulation. More generally, the present results add to a mounting literature in support of task-sensitive and sensory-independent mechanisms underlying functions like spatial, motion, and self-processing in the brain and extending from higher-level as well as to low-level cortices.