Direction of cross-modal information transfer affects human brain activation: A PET study

Ryuta Kawashima, Jobu Watanabe, Takashi Kato, Akinori Nakamura, Kentaro Hatano, Torsten Schormann, Kazunori Sato, Hiroshi Fukuda, Kengo Ito, Karl Zilles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to determine the functional organization of the human brain involved in cross-modal discrimination between tactile and visual information. Regional cerebral blood flow was measured by positron emission tomography in nine right-handed volunteers during four discrimination tasks; tactile-tactile (TT), tactile-visual (TV), visual-tactile (VT), and visual-visual (VV). The subjects were asked either to look at digital cylinders of different diameters or to grasp the digital cylinders with the thumb and index finger of the right hand using haptic interfaces. Compared with the motor control task in which the subjects looked at and grasped cylinders of the same diameter, the right lateral prefrontal cortex and the right inferior parietal lobule were activated in all the four discrimination tasks. In addition, the dorsal premotor cortex, the ventral premotor cortex, and the inferior temporal cortex of the right hemisphere were activated during VT but not during TV. Our results suggest that the human brain mechanisms underlying cross-modal discrimination have two different pathways depending on the temporal order in which stimuli are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Inferior parietal lobule
  • Premotor cortex
  • Tactile information
  • Visual information


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