Explaining Multisensory Experience

Comment on Kevin Connolly’s “Making Sense of Multiple Senses”
  • Matthew FulkersonEmail author
Part of the Studies in Brain and Mind book series (SIBM, volume 6)


Our experience of the world involves a number of senses, including (but perhaps not limited to) sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. These senses are not isolated from one another. They work together, providing a robust and coherent awareness of our environment. Consider entering a good restaurant: one sees the décor and the other patrons, smells the pleasing odors wafting from the kitchen, hears the pleasant music and sound of conversation, feels the comfort of the seating, and, finally, savors the taste of the food. It seems obvious that, in some sense at least, our perceptual awareness of the restaurant is multisensory. Saying exactly what it is for perceptual awareness to be multisensory is more challenging than it appears, however.


Perceptual Experience Sensory Feature Perceptual Content Perceptual Awareness Sensory Interaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Auvray, M., and C. Spence. 2008. The multisensory perception of flavor. Consciousness and Cognition 17(3): 1016–1031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Byrne, A. 2009. Experience and content. The Philosophical Quarterly 59(236): 429–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Calvert, G., and T. Thesen. 2004. Multisensory integration: Methodological approaches and emerging principles in the human brain. Journal of Physiology-Paris 98: 191–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calvert, G., C. Spence, and B.E. Stein. 2004. The handbook of multisensory processes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Ernst, M.O., C. Lange, and F.N. Newell. 2007. Multisensory recognition of actively explored objects. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 61(3): 242–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fodor, J. 1981. The modularity of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fulkerson, M. 2011. The unity of haptic touch. Philosophical Psychology 24(4): 493–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Nudds, M. 2001. Experiencing the production of sounds. European Journal of Philosophy 9(2): 210–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. O’Callaghan, C. 2008. Seeing what you hear: Crossmodal illusions and perception. Philosophical Issues 18: 316–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pylyshyn, Z. 2006. Seeing and visualizing: It’s not what you think. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Shimojo, S., and L. Shams. 2001. Sensory modalities are not separate modalities: Plasticity and interactions. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 11(4): 505–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Spence, C., and J. Driver. 2000. Attracting attention to the illusory location of a sound: Reflexive crossmodal orienting and ventriloquism. Neuroreport 11: 2057–2061.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUCSDLa JollaUSA

Personalised recommendations