Integration of Bimodal Looming Signals through Neuronal Coherence in the Temporal Lobe

Joost X. Maier, Chandramouli Chandrasekaran, Asif A. Ghazanfar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


The ability to integrate information across multiple sensory systems offers several behavioral advantages, from quicker reaction times and more accurate responses to better detection and more robust learning [1]. At the neural level, multisensory integration requires large-scale interactions between different brain regions-the convergence of information from separate sensory modalities, represented by distinct neuronal populations. The interactions between these neuronal populations must be fast and flexible, so that behaviorally relevant signals belonging to the same object or event can be immediately integrated and integration of unrelated signals can be prevented. Looming signals are a particular class of signals that are behaviorally relevant for animals and that occur in both the auditory and visual domain [2-4]. These signals indicate the rapid approach of objects and provide highly salient warning cues about impending impact. We show here that multisensory integration of auditory and visual looming signals may be mediated by functional interactions between auditory cortex and the superior temporal sulcus, two areas involved in integrating behaviorally relevant auditory-visual signals [5, 6]. Audiovisual looming signals elicited increased gamma-band coherence between these areas, relative to unimodal or receding-motion signals. This suggests that the neocortex uses fast, flexible intercortical interactions to mediate multisensory integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)963-968
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 8 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences




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