Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

pp 2457-2461

Multimodal Integration

  • Nicholas P. HolmesAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology & Biophysics, University of Washington School of MedicineEspace et Action
  • , Gemma A. CalvertAffiliated withDepartment of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Graduate School of Medicine University of Tokyo HongoDepartment of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University
  • , Charles SpenceAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Bath


Crossmodal integration; Multisensory integration; Intermodal; Heteromodal; Polymodal; Supramodal


Multimodal (or multisensory) integration refers to the neural integration or combination of information from different sensory modalities (the classic five senses of vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, and, perhaps less obviously, proprioception, kinesthesis, pain, and the vestibular senses), which gives rise to changes in behavior associated with the perception of and reaction to those stimuli [1,2]. Information is typically integrated across sensory modalities when the sensory inputs share certain common features. For example, although vision is concerned with a certain frequency band of the electromagnetic energy spectrum, and hearing is concerned with changes in pressure at the ears, stimulus features such as spatial location, movement, intensity, timing, and duration, as well as other higher-order features such as meaning and identity can apply e ...

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