Making sense of multisensory integration

The title of this post is shamelessly stolen from the editorial in the latest issue of the European Journal of Neuroscience. It’s a special issue on multisensory integration – with all the articles arranged around that central topic. Every time one of these special issues comes out, it’s quite exciting, but also a little scary. Exciting as you get to see how fast the field is moving, and possibly discover some little snippet that will make all the difference to understanding or writing something, and a little scary also, because you get to see how fast the field is moving, and whether someone else has already published your experiment…

Anyway, the main point of this post is to include this amazing and quite beautiful quote from the editorial, which itself is a quote:

A pseudo-aquatic parasite, voiceless as a fish, yet constructing within itself an instrument of voice against the time when it will talk. Organs of skin, ear, eye, nose, tongue, superfluous all of them in the watery dark where formed, yet each unhaltingly preparing to enter a daylight, airy, object-full manifold world which they will be wanted to report on. A great excresence at one end of a nerve-tube, an outrageously outsized brain, of no avail at the moment but where the learning of a world which is to be experienced will go forward.
– Sherrington (1940)

quoted in Molholm & Foxe (2010).

The authors go on to discuss the content of the rest of the issue, but not before admiring the elegance of scientific writing of old, and be-moaning the necessity of the rather dry style that predominates currently.

It’s hard to see quite how to do it, but lets bring some style back into science writing!

Molholm, S., & Foxe, J. J. (2010). Making sense of multisensory integration. European Journal of Neuroscience, 31(10), 1709-1712. doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07238.x

Sherrington, C.S. 1940. Man on His Nature. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

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