Classic views of multisensory processing suggest that cortical sensory regions are specialized. More recent views argue that cortical sensory regions are inherently multisensory. To date, there are no published neuroimaging data that directly test these claims in infancy. Here we used fNIRS to show that temporal and occipital cortex are functionally coupled in 3.5-5-month-old infants (N = 65), and that the extent of this coupling during a synchronous, but not an asynchronous, audiovisual event predicted whether occipital cortex would subsequently respond to sound-only information. These data suggest that multisensory experience may shape cortical dynamics to adapt to the ubiquity of synchronous multisensory information in the environment, and invoke the possibility that adaptation to the environment can also reflect broadening of the computational range of sensory systems.
Werchan, D. M., Baumgartner, H. A., Lewkowicz, D. J., & Amso, D. (2018). The origins of cortical multisensory dynamics: Evidence from human infants. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 34, 75–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2018.07.002