Cortical Processing of Multimodal Sensory Learning in Human Neonates
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021

Following birth, infants must immediately process and rapidly adapt to the array of unknown sensory experiences associated with their new ex-utero environment. However, although it is known that unimodal stimuli induce activity in the corresponding primary sensory cortices of the newborn brain, it is unclear how multimodal stimuli are processed and integrated across modalities. The latter is essential for learning and understanding environmental contingencies through encoding relationships between sensory experiences; and ultimately likely subserves development of life-long skills such as speech and language. Here, for the first time, we map the intracerebral processing which underlies auditory-sensorimotor classical conditioning in a group of 13 neonates (median gestational age at birth: 38 weeks + 4 days, range: 32 weeks + 2 days to 41 weeks + 6 days; median postmenstrual age at scan: 40 weeks + 5 days, range: 38 weeks + 3 days to 42 weeks + 1 days) with blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance (MR) compatible robotics. We demonstrate that classical conditioning can induce crossmodal changes within putative unimodal sensory cortex even in the absence of its archetypal substrate. Our results also suggest that multimodal learning is associated with network wide activity within the conditioned neural system. These findings suggest that in early life, external multimodal sensory stimulation and integration shapes activity in the developing cortex and may influence its associated functional network architecture.

brain plasticity

functional MRI

classical conditioning


multisensory integration


Sofia Dall'orso

Imperial College London

King's College London

Chalmers, Elektroteknik, Signalbehandling och medicinsk teknik

W. P. Fifer

Columbia University

P. D. Balsam

Columbia University

J. Brandon

King's College London

C. O'Keefe

King's College London

T. Poppe

King's College London

K. Vecchiato

King's College London

A. D. Edwards

Imperial College London

King's College London

E. Burdet

Imperial College London

Tomoki Arichi

Imperial College London

King's College London

Evelina London Children's Healthcare

Cerebral Cortex

1047-3211 (ISSN) 1460-2199 (eISSN)

Vol. 31 3 1827-1836


Psykologi (exklusive tillämpad psykologi)




Hälsa och teknik





Mer information

Senast uppdaterat