Multisensory decision-making in rats and humans

Raposo, D., Sheppard, J. P., Schrater, P. R., Churchland, A. K. (March 2012) Multisensory decision-making in rats and humans. Journal of Neuroscience, 32 (11). pp. 3726-35. ISSN 0270-6474

DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.4998-11.2012


We report a novel multisensory decision task designed to encourage subjects to combine information across both time and sensory modalities. We presented subjects, humans and rats, with multisensory event streams, consisting of a series of brief auditory and/or visual events. Subjects made judgments about whether the event rate of these streams was high or low. We have three main findings. First, we report that subjects can combine multisensory information over time to improve judgments about whether a fluctuating rate is high or low. Importantly, the improvement we observed was frequently close to, or better than, the statistically optimal prediction. Second, we found that subjects showed a clear multisensory enhancement both when the inputs in each modality were redundant and when they provided independent evidence about the rate. This latter finding suggests a model where event rates are estimated separately for each modality and fused at a later stage. Finally, because a similar multisensory enhancement was observed in both humans and rats, we conclude that the ability to optimally exploit sequentially presented multisensory information is not restricted to a particular species.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior
organism description > animal behavior > decision making
organism description > animal > mammal > primates > hominids > human
organism description > animal > mammal > rodent > rat
organism description > animal > mammal > rodent > rat
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Churchland lab
School of Biological Sciences > Publications
Depositing User: CSHL Librarian
Date: 14 March 2012
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2012 15:26
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2014 20:38
PMCID: PMC3335889
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

Administrator's edit/view item Administrator's edit/view item
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationNews & FeaturesCampus & Public EventsCareersGiving