While I was reading about "Neural Control and Coordination" I came across this "Association areas in the forebrain are responsible for complex functions like intersensory associations, ....."

What are "intersensory associations"? I have searched the net but could not find anything useful.

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    $\begingroup$ They mean integration of information from more than one sense. For a human example, think of when you are having a conversation: you are not only listening to what someone is saying but also watching their lips move. Both give you information about what they are saying. Or you see a cat and hear a meow: you have an association between the two that allows you to identify the meow as emanating from the cat you see. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 15, 2017 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


A more common terminology regarding 'intersensory associations' is multisensory or crossmodal integration. Crossmodal integration takes place in the association cortices in the brain (Fig. 1). An example is the coupling of auditory and visual input during lip reading, as mentioned in the comments. Lip reading can aid in acoustic speech understanding, especially so in the hearing impaired.

The association cortices include most of the cerebral surface of the human brain and are responsible for integrating the sensory input that arrives in the primary sensory cortices. The diverse functions of the association cortices are loosely referred to as “cognition,” which literally means the process by which we come to know the world. Cognition enables us to attend to external stimuli, to identify the significance of stimuli and to plan meaningful responses to them. The association cortices receive and integrate information from a variety of sources and in turn influence a range of cortical and subcortical targets (Purves et al., 2001).

ass cortex
Fig. 1. Association cortices. source: Brown, Physiology & Neuroscience websites

- Purves et al., Neuroscience, 2nd ed. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001


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