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Publication Detail
Nothing is irrelevant in a noisy world: sensory illusions reveal obligatory within-and across-modality integration.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Bizley JK, Shinn-Cunningham BG, Lee AKC
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    13402, 13410
  • Journal:
    J Neurosci
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Country:
    United States
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Acoustic Stimulation, Adult, Analysis of Variance, Auditory Perception, Cues, Female, Functional Laterality, Humans, Illusions, Male, Noise, Photic Stimulation, Psychophysics, Reaction Time, Time Factors, Visual Perception, Young Adult
In the "flash-beep illusion," a single light flash is perceived as multiple flashes when presented in close temporal proximity to multiple auditory beeps. Accounts of this illusion argue that temporal auditory information interferes with visual information because temporal acuity is better in audition than vision. However, it may also be that whenever there are multiple sensory inputs, the interference caused by a to-be-ignored stimulus on an attended stimulus depends on the likelihood that the stimuli are perceived as coming from a single distal source. Here we explore, in human observers, perceptual interactions between competing auditory and visual inputs while varying spatial proximity, which affects object formation. When two spatially separated streams are presented in the same (visual or auditory) modality, temporal judgments about a target stream from one direction are biased by the content of the competing distractor stream. Cross-modally, auditory streams from both target and distractor directions bias the perceived number of events in a target visual stream; however, importantly, the auditory stream from the target direction influences visual judgments more than does the auditory stream from the opposite hemifield. As in the original flash-beep illusion, visual streams weakly influence auditory judgments, regardless of spatial proximity. We also find that perceptual interference in the flash-beep illusion is similar to within-modality interference from a competing same-modality stream. Results reveal imperfect and obligatory within- and across-modality integration of information, and hint that the strength of these interactions depends on object binding.
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