Multisensory Integration

While much can be understood about which particular sensory systems are necessary and/or sufficient to accomplish particular tasks by manipulating their availability, it is also important to understand how different sensory and motor information is integrated when several redundant sources are concurrently available. Therefore, we are also interested in describing and modeling the principles underlying multisensory integration during self-motion and goal-directed movements. For instance, a series of experiments have focused specifically upon defining multi-sensory integration during goal-directed reaching tasks within near body space (Bresciani). This has been accomplished by using several informative methods, including, behavioural tasks, recordings of muscle activity (EMG), and transcranial magnetic stimulation which disrupts the ability to react on-line to unpredictable events or delays the motor responses to these events.
It is also important to evaluate multisensory integration during full-body motion as it occurs across space and over time. We have addressed such questions, for instance, by using a travelled distance estimation task to understand the relative contributions of visual, proprioceptive and vestibular cues when each are concurrently available. This has been achieved by varying the visual/proprioceptive “gain” (e.g. the amount of visual distance covered for one unit of motor output) and evaluating how this manipulation impacts distance estimates (Campos). A series of studies have also demonstrated the robust nature of visual-vestibular integration during tasks involving self-velocity and heading judgments (Butler). In order to dissociate the contributions of the individual sensory systems, cue-conflicts have been used by creating visual-vestibular spatial offsets and temporal offsets.
Last updated: Tuesday, 07.05.2013