A frontoparietal network of brain regions is often implicated in both auditory and visual information processing. Although it is possible that the same set of multimodal regions subserves both modalities, there is increasing evidence that there is a differentiation of sensory function within frontoparietal cortex. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in humans was used to investigate whether different frontoparietal regions showed intrinsic biases in connectivity with visual or auditory modalities. Structural connectivity was assessed with diffusion tractography and functional connectivity was tested using functional MRI. A dorsal–ventral gradient of function was observed, where connectivity with visual cortex dominates dorsal frontal and parietal connections, while connectivity with auditory cortex dominates ventral frontal and parietal regions. A gradient was also observed along the posterior–anterior axis, although in opposite directions in prefrontal and parietal cortices. The results suggest that the location of neural activity within frontoparietal cortex may be influenced by these intrinsic biases toward visual and auditory processing. Thus, the location of activity in frontoparietal cortex may be influenced as much by stimulus modality as the cognitive demands of a task. It was concluded that stimulus modality was spatially encoded throughout frontal and parietal cortices, and was speculated that such an arrangement allows for top–down modulation of modality-specific information to occur within higher-order cortex. This could provide a potentially faster and more efficient pathway by which top–down selection between sensory modalities could occur, by constraining modulations to within frontal and parietal regions, rather than long-range connections to sensory cortices. Hum Brain Mapp 38:255–270, 2017.
- frontoparietal cortex
- functional magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology