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Keywords:

  • multisensory integration;
  • neurophysiology;
  • parietal cortex;
  • somatosensation;
  • vision

Abstract

Despite the fact that unisensory and multisensory neurons are comingled in every neural structure in which they have been identified, no systematic comparison of their response features has been conducted. Towards that goal, the present study was designed to examine and compare measures of response magnitude, latency, duration and spontaneous activity in unisensory and bimodal neurons from the ferret parietal cortex. Using multichannel single-unit recording, bimodal neurons were observed to demonstrate significantly higher response levels and spontaneous discharge rates than did their unisensory counterparts. These results suggest that, rather than merely reflect different connectional arrangements, unisensory and multisensory neurons are likely to differ at the cellular level. Thus, it can no longer be assumed that the different populations of bimodal and unisensory neurons within a neural region respond similarly to a given external stimulus.