Disentangling unisensory and multisensory components in audiovisual integration using a novel multifrequency fMRI spectral analysis

Uri Hertz, Amir Amedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Events in the world are mediated through multiple sensory inputs which are processed separately in specific unisensory areas according to the division-of-labor principle, and then need to be integrated to create a unified percept. How this is done is still not clear. For instance, recent evidence showed crossmodal activation in primary areas. We developed a novel approach to study multisensory integration using multifrequency spectral analysis to investigate the processing of audio and visual streams in a multisensory context. Auditory and visual stimuli were delivered in the same experimental condition, each in different presentation frequencies, and thus could be detected by applying Fourier spectral analysis in their different presentation frequencies. The cochleotopic and retinotopic organization of primary auditory and visual areas were found to remain intact in spite of the multisensory context. Auditory responses were also found in the Precuneus, suggesting that it might be a new auditory area responsive to pure tone stimuli, and serving as one end of a novel sensory preference gradient stretching across POG to the calcarine sulcus. Additional audiovisual areal convergence was detected both in areas in the middle of sensory preference gradients, and in primary auditory areas. Interestingly, the in/out synchronization rate of the auditory and visual streams yielded a third interaction frequency, which could be analyzed independently to reveal higher-order audiovisual interaction responses. These results were detected in one compact and natural multisensory experimental condition, which has several advantages over previous approaches. The method can be further implemented to study any type of interaction, within and across sensory modalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-632
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank Ella Striem-Amit, Ran Geva and Zohar Tal for their help in obtaining the data, and all the lab members for their support. This work was supported by the Human Frontiers Science Program Career Development Award (to AA), an EU-FP7 MC International Reintegration Grant (to AA), an Israel Science Foundation grant and a German Israeli Foundation grant (to AA).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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