Animals have evolved multiple senses that transduce different forms of energy as a way of increasing their sensitivity to environmental events. Each sense provides a unique and independent perspective on the world, and very often a single event stimulates several of them. In order to make best use of the available information, the brain has also evolved the capacity to integrate information across the senses ("multisensory integration"). This facilitates the detection, localization, and identification of a given event, and has obvious survival value for the individual and the species. Multisensory responses in the superior colliculus (SC) evidence shorter latencies and are more robust at their onset. This is the phenomenon of initial response enhancement in multisensory integration, which is believed to represent a real time fusion of information across the senses. The present paper reviews two recent reports describing how the timing and robustness of sensory responses change as a consequence of multisensory integration in the model system of the SC.
Rowland, B. A. (2008). Temporal profiles of response enhancement in multisensory integration. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2(2), 218–224. https://doi.org/10.3389/neuro.01.033.2008