Neuroplasticity and crossmodal connectivity in the normal, healthy brain

A K M Rezaul Karim, Michael Proulx, Alexandra A de Sousa, Lora T Likova

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Abstract

Objective: Neuroplasticity enables the brain to establish new crossmodal connections or reorganize old connections which are essential to perceiving a multisensorial world. The intent of this review is to identify and summarize the current developments in neuroplasticity and crossmodal connectivity, and deepen understanding of how crossmodal connectivity develops in the normal, healthy brain, highlighting novel perspectives about the principles that guide this connectivity. Method: To this end, a narrative review is carried out. The data documented in prior relevant studies in neuroscience, psychology, and other related fields available in a wide range of prominent electronic databases are critically assessed, synthesized, interpreted with qualitative rather than quantitative elements, and linked together to form new propositions and hypotheses about neuroplasticity and crossmodal connectivity. Results: Three major themes are identified. First, it appears that neuroplasticity operates by following eight fundamental principles and crossmodal integration operates by following three principles. Second, two different forms of crossmodal connectivity, namely, direct crossmodal connectivity and indirect crossmodal connectivity, are suggested to operate in both unisensory and multisensory perception. Third, three principles possibly guide the development of crossmodal connectivity into adulthood. These are labeled as the principle of innate crossmodality, the principle of evolution-driven “neuromodular” reorganization and the principle of multimodal experience. These principles are combined to develop a three-factor interaction model of crossmodal connectivity. Conclusions: The hypothesized principles and the proposed model together advance understanding of neuroplasticity, the nature of crossmodal connectivity, and how such connectivity develops in the normal, healthy brain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-334
Number of pages37
JournalPsychology & Neuroscience
Volume14
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021

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