Is neocortex essentially multisensory?

Asif A. Ghazanfar, Charles E. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1071 Scopus citations


Although sensory perception and neurobiology are traditionally investigated one modality at a time, real world behaviour and perception are driven by the integration of information from multiple sensory sources. Mounting evidence suggests that the neural underpinnings of multisensory integration extend into early sensory processing. This article examines the notion that neocortical operations are essentially multisensory. We first review what is known about multisensory processing in higher-order association cortices and then discuss recent anatomical and physiological findings in presumptive unimodal sensory areas. The pervasiveness of multisensory influences on all levels of cortical processing compels us to reconsider thinking about neural processing in unisensory terms. Indeed, the multisensory nature of most, possibly all, of the neocortex forces us to abandon the notion that the senses ever operate independently during real-world cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-285
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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