Article

Ten Years at the Multisensory Forum: Musings on the Evolution of a Field

Program in Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, The City College of the City University of New York, 138th St. & Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031, USA.
Brain Topography (Impact Factor: 2.52). 06/2009; 21(3-4):149-54. DOI: 10.1007/s10548-009-0102-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Research on all things multisensory has literally exploded since the inception of the International Multisensory Research Forum (IMRF) conference at Oxford in 1999. Here we find ourselves at the 10th annual meeting, for the second time in New York, with a wealth of data from which we will work to gain insights into the mechanisms by which the brain deals with and benefits from multisensory inputs. We have taken this opportunity for some musings on what the last 10 years have taught us, and where we think the field may be heading in the years to come. Our ramblings will be necessarily biased and incomplete and for this we apologize in advance. We also take the opportunity to highlight some of the clinical translational work that is now being done in the field, and to emphasize the importance and potency of translating findings from the basic research domain to diagnostic and clinical applications.

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Available from: John J Foxe, Jul 28, 2015
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    • "This latter class of multisensory prosodic information provides a large part of the socially relevant content in the speech signal, and it has been known for decades now that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have significant deficits in extracting this class of information (Kujala et al. 2005; Paul et al. 2005). It is also the case that basic unisensory processing disturbances have been seen in ASD (Fiebelkorn et al. 2013), and it is not surprising then that researchers have asked whether some of these social communication deficits might not arise from a more basic deficit in multisensory integration processes (Iarocci and McDonald 2006; Foxe and Molholm 2009). For example, recent electrophysiological work has pointed to deficits in the integration of simple somatosensory and auditory inputs in high-functioning ASD children (Russo et al. 2010), as well as deficits in the processing of fundamental audiovisual inputs (Brandwein et al. 2013). "
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    • "That said, it is possible that more ecologically valid stimuli and/or a more challenging task than the one employed here might bring out " workaround " strategies in the children with autism that allow them to compensate for these early impairments in automatic multisensory processing. Though highly speculative, it may be that for important functions such as speech recognition, compensatory processes involving frontal lobe development (e.g., improvements in executive function) contribute to the " catching up " observed in some behavioral studies of AV integration in ASD over childhood (Foxe et al. 2009; Taylor et al. 2010). "
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    • "Additional research will have to consider how temporal intersensory processing varies across subpopulations and how individuals within these groups relate to those with typical development who are typically developed or to those who are both developmentally impaired and non-autistic. Although the exact causes of our findings are speculative, they are in line with the majority of ASD studies on MSI which show that individuals with ASD have altered MSI (de Gelder et al., 1991; Bebko et al., 2006; Kern et al., 2007; Smith and Bennetto, 2007; Magnée et al., 2008; Mongillo et al., 2008; Oberman and Ramachandran, 2008; Foxe and Molholm, 2009; Russo et al., 2010), or altered multisensory temporal function (Foss-Feig et al., 2010; Kwakye et al., 2011). Further research is clearly needed to examine and characterize multisensory processes in ASD in more detail and this may ultimately lead to a broader and better understanding and diagnosis of this disorder. "
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