The interactions of multisensory integration with endogenous and exogenous attention

Xiaoyu Tang, Jinglong Wu, Yong Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Stimuli from multiple sensory organs can be integrated into a coherent representation through multiple phases of multisensory processing; this phenomenon is called multisensory integration. Multisensory integration can interact with attention. Here, we propose a framework in which attention modulates multisensory processing in both endogenous (goal-driven) and exogenous (stimulus-driven) ways. Moreover, multisensory integration exerts not only bottom-up but also top-down control over attention. Specifically, we propose the following: (1) endogenous attentional selectivity acts on multiple levels of multisensory processing to determine the extent to which simultaneous stimuli from different modalities can be integrated; (2) integrated multisensory events exert top-down control on attentional capture via multisensory search templates that are stored in the brain; (3) integrated multisensory events can capture attention efficiently, even in quite complex circumstances, due to their increased salience compared to unimodal events and can thus improve search accuracy; and (4) within a multisensory object, endogenous attention can spread from one modality to another in an exogenous manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-224
Number of pages17
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Attention
  • Attentional selectivity
  • Cross-modal spread of attention
  • Endogenous attention
  • Exogenous attention
  • Multisensory integration
  • Multisensory processing
  • Multisensory search templates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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