Faculté des sciences

Multisensory integration in non-human primates during a sensory-motor task

Lanz, imageFlorian ; Moret, Véronique ; Rouiller, Eric M. ; Loquet, Gérard

In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2013, vol. 7, p. 799

Daily our central nervous system receives inputs via several sensory modalities, processes them and integrates information in order to produce a suitable behavior. The amazing part is that such a multisensory integration brings all information into a unified percept. An approach to start investigating this property is to show that perception is better and faster when multimodal stimuli are used... More

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    Summary
    Daily our central nervous system receives inputs via several sensory modalities, processes them and integrates information in order to produce a suitable behavior. The amazing part is that such a multisensory integration brings all information into a unified percept. An approach to start investigating this property is to show that perception is better and faster when multimodal stimuli are used as compared to unimodal stimuli. This forms the first part of the present study conducted in a non-human primate’s model (n = 2) engaged in a detection sensory-motor task where visual and auditory stimuli were displayed individually or simultaneously. The measured parameters were the reaction time (RT) between stimulus and onset of arm movement, successes and errors percentages, as well as the evolution as a function of time of these parameters with training. As expected, RTs were shorter when the subjects were exposed to combined stimuli. The gains for both subjects were around 20 and 40 ms, as compared with the auditory and visual stimulus alone, respectively. Moreover the number of correct responses increased in response to bimodal stimuli. We interpreted such multisensory advantage through redundant signal effect which decreases perceptual ambiguity, increases speed of stimulus detection, and improves performance accuracy. The second part of the study presents single-unit recordings derived from the premotor cortex (PM) of the same subjects during the sensory-motor task. Response patterns to sensory/multisensory stimulation are documented and specific type proportions are reported. Characterization of bimodal neurons indicates a mechanism of audio-visual integration possibly through a decrease of inhibition. Nevertheless the neural processing leading to faster motor response from PM as a polysensory association cortical area remains still unclear.