Multisensory Calibration: A Variety of Slow and Fast Brain Processes Throughout the Lifespan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


From before we are born, throughout development, adulthood, and aging, we are immersed in a multisensory world. At each of these stages, our sensory cues are constantly changing, due to body, brain, and environmental changes. While integration of information from our different sensory cues improves precision, this only improves accuracy if the underlying cues are unbiased. Thus, multisensory calibration is a vital and ongoing process. To meet this grand challenge, our brains have evolved a variety of mechanisms. First, in response to a systematic discrepancy between sensory cues (without external feedback) the cues calibrate one another (unsupervised calibration). Second, multisensory function is calibrated to external feedback (supervised calibration). These two mechanisms superimpose. While the former likely reflects a lower level mechanism, the latter likely reflects a higher level cognitive mechanism. Indeed, neural correlates of supervised multisensory calibration in monkeys were found in higher level multisensory cortical area VIP, but not in the relatively lower level multisensory area MSTd. In addition, even without a cue discrepancy (e.g., when experiencing stimuli from different sensory cues in series) the brain monitors supra-modal statistics of events in the environment and adapts perception cross-modally. This too comprises a variety of mechanisms, including confirmation bias to prior choices, and lower level cross-sensory adaptation. Further research into the neuronal underpinnings of the broad and diverse functions of multisensory calibration, with improved synthesis of theories is needed to attain a more comprehensive understanding of multisensory brain function.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2024.


  • Accurate
  • Adaptation
  • Perception
  • Recalibration
  • Self-motion
  • Serial dependence
  • Supervised
  • Unsupervised
  • Vestibular
  • Visual


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