Skip to main content

Mark Wallace

Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences Sciences
Professor of Psychiatry
Associate Professor of Psychology
Director, Vanderbilt Brain Institute

The Wallace lab is interested in better understanding how the brain synthesizes information from multiple sensory systems (e.g., vision, hearing, touch). Given that we are continually bombarded with sensory information, it seems intuitively obvious that one important brain function is to synthesize this multisensory information. Such multisensory integration enhances our ability to react to external events, as well as enriching our perception of those events and of the world. Nonetheless, despite the ubiquity and utility of multisensory processes, surprisingly little is known about their neural bases when compared with the individual sensory systems that contribute to them. Using a multidisciplinary approach, our lab seeks to fill this knowledge gap. A sampling of the techniques in use in the lab includes: animal behavior, neurophysiological recordings from single neurons and ensembles of neurons, neuroanatomical tract tracing, human psychophysics and fMRI. Currently, we are pursuing a number of questions related to multisensory processes. These include: (1) the development of cortical multisensory circuits, (2) developmental and adult plasticity in these circuits, (3) how multisensory signals are transformed into appropriate motor commands, (4) multisensory influences on normal human perception and performance, and (5) how abnormal multisensory processing may contribute to certain neurodevelopmental disabilities (e.g., dyslexia).

Representative Publications

  • Burnett, LR, Stein BE, Chaponis D, and Wallace MT (2004) Superior colliculus (SC) lesions preferentially disrupt multisensory orientation. Neuroscience 124: 535-547.
  • Wallace MT, Ramachandran R and Stein BE (2004) A new view of sensory cortical parcellation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 101(7): 2167-2172.
  • Wallace MT, Roberson G, Hairston WD, Stein BE and Schirillo JA (2004) Unifying multisensory signals across time and space. Exp. Brain Res. 158: 252-258.
  • Laurienti PJ, Kraft RA, Maldjian JA, Burdette JH and Wallace MT (2004) Semantic congruence is a critical factor in multisensory behavioral performance. Exp. Brain Res. 158: 405-414.
  • Wallace MT (2004) The development of multisensory processes. Cogn. Process 5: 69-83.
  • Wallace MT, Perrault TP, Hairston WD, and Stein BE (2004) Visual experience is necessary for the development of multisensory integration. J. Neurosci. 24: 9580-9584.
  • Perrault TP, Vaughan JW, Stein BE, and Wallace MT (2005) Superior colliculus neurons use distinct operational modes in the integration of multisensory stimuli. J. Neurophysiol. 93: 2575-2586.
  • Laurienti P, Perrault T Jr, Stanford TR, Wallace MT, and Stein BE (2005) On the use of superadditivity as a metric for characterizing multisensory integration in functional neuroimaging studies. Exp. Brain Res. 166: 289-297.
  • Hairston WD, Burdette JH, Flowers DL, Wood FB, and Wallace MT (2005) Altered temporal profile of visual-auditory multisensory interactions in dyslexia. Exp. Brain Res. 166: 474-480.
  • Laurienti PJ, Burdette JH, Maldjian JA, and Wallace MT (2006) Enhanced multisensory integration in older adults. Neurobiol. Aging 27: 1155-1163.
  • Hairston WD, Hodges DA, Burdette JH and Wallace MT (2006) Auditory enhancement of visual temporal order judgment. Neuroreport 17, 791-795.
  • Hairston WD, Hugenschmidt C, Wallace MT, Kraft RA, Maldjian JA and Laurienti PJ (2006) Cross-modal deactivations are mediated by selective attention to a single sensory modality. Neuroimage (In Press).
  • Wallace MT and Stein BE (2006) Early experience determines how the senses will interact. J. Neurophysiol. (In Press).
  • Burnett LR, Stein BE, Perrault TJ, and Wallace MT (2006) Excitotoxic lesions of the superior colliculus preferentially impacts multisensory neurons and multisensory integration. Exp. Brain Res. (In Press).
  • Wallace MT, Carriere BN, Perrault TJ, Vaughan JW, and Stein BE (2006) The development of cortical multisensory integration. J. Neurosci. 26: 11844-11849.