Beyond sense-specific processing: decoding texture in the brain from touch and sonified movement


  • Landelle Caroline
  • Caron-Guyon Jeanne
  • Nazarian Bruno
  • Anton Jean-Luc
  • Sein Julien
  • Pruvost Laurent
  • Amberg Michel
  • Giraud Frédéric
  • Félician Olivier
  • Danna Jérémy
  • Kavounoudias Anne


  • Human
  • Multisensory perception
  • Audio-haptic stimuli
  • FMRI
  • Multivoxel pattern analysis

document type



Texture, a fundamental object attribute, is perceived through multisensory information including touch and auditory cues. Coherent perceptions may rely on shared texture representations across different senses in the brain. To test this hypothesis, we delivered haptic textures coupled with a sound synthesizer to generate real-time textural sounds. Participants completed roughness estimation tasks with haptic, auditory, or bimodal cues in an MRI scanner. Somatosensory, auditory, and visual cortices were all activated during haptic and auditory exploration, challenging the traditional view that primary sensory cortices are sense-specific. Furthermore, audio-tactile integration was found in secondary somatosensory (S2) and primary auditory cortices. Multivariate analyses revealed shared spatial activity patterns in primary motor and somatosensory cortices, for discriminating texture across both modalities. This study indicates that primary areas and S2 have a versatile representation of multisensory textures, which has significant implications for how the brain processes multisensory cues to interact more efficiently with our environment.

more information