Our coherent perception of external events is enabled by the integration of inputs from different senses occurring within a range of temporal offsets known as the temporal binding window (TBW), which varies from person to person. A relatively wide TBW may increase the likelihood that stimuli originating from different environmental events are erroneously integrated and abnormally large TBW has been found in psychiatric disorders characterized by unusual perceptual experiences. Despite strong evidence of inter-individual differences in TBW, both within clinical and nonclinical populations, the neurobiological underpinnings of this variability remain unclear. We adopted an integrated strategy linking TBW to temporal dynamics in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)-resting-state activity and cortical excitation/inhibition (E/I) balance. E/I balance was indexed by glutamate/Gamma-AminoButyric Acid (GABA) concentrations and common variation in glutamate and GABA genes in a healthy sample. Stronger resting-state long-range temporal correlations, indicated by larger power law exponent (PLE), in the auditory cortex, robustly predicted narrower audio-tactile TBW, which was in turn associated with lower cognitive-perceptual schizotypy. Furthermore, PLE was highest and TBW narrowest for individuals with intermediate levels of E/I balance, with shifts towards either extreme resulting in reduced multisensory temporal precision and increased schizotypy, effectively forming a neural "tuning curve" for multisensory experience and schizophrenia risk. Our findings shed light on the neurobiological underpinnings of multisensory integration and its potentially clinically relevant inter-individual variability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health