Optimized Configuration of Functional Brain Network for Processing Semantic Audiovisual Stimuli Underlying the Modulation of Attention: A Graph-Based Study.Front Integr Neurosci 2019; 13:67FI
Semantic audiovisual stimuli have a facilitatory effect on behavioral performance and influence the integration of multisensory inputs across sensory modalities. Many neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies investigated the neural mechanisms of multisensory semantic processing and reported that attention modulates the response to multisensory semantic inputs. In the present study, we designed an functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment of semantic discrimination using the unimodal auditory, unimodal visual and bimodal audiovisual stimuli with semantic information. By manipulating the stimuli present on attended and unattended position, we recorded the task-related fMRI data corresponding to the unimodal auditory, unimodal visual and bimodal audiovisual stimuli in attended and unattended conditions. We also recorded the fMRI data in resting state. Then the fMRI method was used together with a graph theoretical analysis to construct the functional brain networks in task-related and resting states and quantitatively characterize the topological network properties. The aim of our present study is to explore the characteristics of functional brain networks that process semantic audiovisual stimuli in attended and unattended conditions, revealing the neural mechanism of multisensory processing and the modulation of attention. The behavioral results showed that the audiovisual stimulus presented simultaneously promoted the performance of semantic discrimination task. And the analyses of network properties showed that compared with the resting-state condition, the functional networks of processing semantic audiovisual stimuli (both in attended and unattended conditions) had greater small-worldness, global efficiency, and lower clustering coefficient, characteristic path length, global efficiency and hierarchy. In addition, the hubs were concentrated in the bilateral temporal lobes, especially in the anterior temporal lobes (ATLs), which were positively correlated to reaction time (RT). Moreover, attention significantly altered the degree of small-worldness and the distribution of hubs in the functional network for processing semantic audiovisual stimuli. Our findings suggest that the topological structure of the functional brain network for processing semantic audiovisual stimulus is modulated by attention, and has the characteristics of high efficiency and low wiring cost, which maintains an optimized balance between functional segregation and integration for multisensory processing efficiently.