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Full Access The effect of audio–visual expectancies on stereoacuity

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The effect of audio–visual expectancies on stereoacuity

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For more content, see Multisensory Research and Spatial Vision.

Because of greater attenuation of high frequencies, a distant sound carries more low frequencies. As the distance between the listener and a sound source increases, the sound is therefore perceived as having a lower pitch. In the present study, we investigated whether there pre-exists a relationship between depth, as it is perceived by the visual system, and pitch. To do so, we measured stereoacuity (the smallest detectable depth difference that can be seen from binocular disparity). Two lines were presented sequentially at a different depth. Each line was presented along with a beep that lasted as long as the presentation of the line. The two beeps could either have the same pitch or a different pitch associated with the two depths. When the pitch was different, the high pitch could either be associated with the near (congruent with the hypothesis) or the far (incongruent) line. Five participants were asked to determine which line was nearer and instructed not to pay attention to the sound. Results showed no significant difference between the congruent and incongruent sound conditions. However, sensitivity was much better in the two different-pitch conditions compared to the same-pitch condition. In addition, we found no difference between the same-pitch condition and a control condition in which no sound was presented. To conclude, our results suggest that a difference in pitch can improve stereacuity, independent of the frequency content of the sound.

Affiliations: 1: Université Paris Descartes & CNRS, FR

Because of greater attenuation of high frequencies, a distant sound carries more low frequencies. As the distance between the listener and a sound source increases, the sound is therefore perceived as having a lower pitch. In the present study, we investigated whether there pre-exists a relationship between depth, as it is perceived by the visual system, and pitch. To do so, we measured stereoacuity (the smallest detectable depth difference that can be seen from binocular disparity). Two lines were presented sequentially at a different depth. Each line was presented along with a beep that lasted as long as the presentation of the line. The two beeps could either have the same pitch or a different pitch associated with the two depths. When the pitch was different, the high pitch could either be associated with the near (congruent with the hypothesis) or the far (incongruent) line. Five participants were asked to determine which line was nearer and instructed not to pay attention to the sound. Results showed no significant difference between the congruent and incongruent sound conditions. However, sensitivity was much better in the two different-pitch conditions compared to the same-pitch condition. In addition, we found no difference between the same-pitch condition and a control condition in which no sound was presented. To conclude, our results suggest that a difference in pitch can improve stereacuity, independent of the frequency content of the sound.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x647919
2012-01-01
2017-11-18

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