# Cortical hierarchies perform Bayesian causal inference in multisensory perception

Research output: Contribution to journal › Article

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**Cortical hierarchies perform Bayesian causal inference in multisensory perception.** / Rohe, Tim; Noppeney, Uta.

Research output: Contribution to journal › Article

## Harvard

*PLoS Biology*, vol. 13, no. 2, e1002073. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002073

## APA

*PLoS Biology*,

*13*(2), [e1002073]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002073

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## Bibtex

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## RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Cortical hierarchies perform Bayesian causal inference in multisensory perception

AU - Rohe, Tim

AU - Noppeney, Uta

PY - 2015/2/24

Y1 - 2015/2/24

N2 - To form a veridical percept of the environment, the brain needs to integrate sensory signals from a common source but segregate those from independent sources. Thus, perception inherently relies on solving the “causal inference problem.” Behaviorally, humans solve this problem optimally as predicted by Bayesian Causal Inference; yet, the underlying neural mechanisms are unexplored. Combining psychophysics, Bayesian modeling, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and multivariate decoding in an audiovisual spatial localization task, we demonstrate that Bayesian Causal Inference is performed by a hierarchy of multisensory processes in the human brain. At the bottom of the hierarchy, in auditory and visual areas, location is represented on the basis that the two signals are generated by independent sources (= segregation). At the next stage, in posterior intraparietal sulcus, location is estimated under the assumption that the two signals are from a common source (= forced fusion). Only at the top of the hierarchy, in anterior intraparietal sulcus, the uncertainty about the causal structure of the world is taken into account and sensory signals are combined as predicted by Bayesian Causal Inference. Characterizing the computational operations of signal interactions reveals the hierarchical nature of multisensory perception in human neocortex. It unravels how the brain accomplishes Bayesian Causal Inference, a statistical computation fundamental for perception and cognition. Our results demonstrate how the brain combines information in the face of uncertainty about the underlying causal structure of the world.

AB - To form a veridical percept of the environment, the brain needs to integrate sensory signals from a common source but segregate those from independent sources. Thus, perception inherently relies on solving the “causal inference problem.” Behaviorally, humans solve this problem optimally as predicted by Bayesian Causal Inference; yet, the underlying neural mechanisms are unexplored. Combining psychophysics, Bayesian modeling, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and multivariate decoding in an audiovisual spatial localization task, we demonstrate that Bayesian Causal Inference is performed by a hierarchy of multisensory processes in the human brain. At the bottom of the hierarchy, in auditory and visual areas, location is represented on the basis that the two signals are generated by independent sources (= segregation). At the next stage, in posterior intraparietal sulcus, location is estimated under the assumption that the two signals are from a common source (= forced fusion). Only at the top of the hierarchy, in anterior intraparietal sulcus, the uncertainty about the causal structure of the world is taken into account and sensory signals are combined as predicted by Bayesian Causal Inference. Characterizing the computational operations of signal interactions reveals the hierarchical nature of multisensory perception in human neocortex. It unravels how the brain accomplishes Bayesian Causal Inference, a statistical computation fundamental for perception and cognition. Our results demonstrate how the brain combines information in the face of uncertainty about the underlying causal structure of the world.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84924067613&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002073

DO - 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002073

M3 - Article

C2 - 25710328

VL - 13

JO - PLoS Biol.

JF - PLoS Biol.

SN - 1544-9173

IS - 2

M1 - e1002073

ER -