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Full Access Sound speeds vision through preparation, not integration

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Sound speeds vision through preparation, not integration

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image of Multisensory Research
For more content, see Seeing and Perceiving and Spatial Vision.

People respond faster to a visual target stimulus when it is accompanied by a task-irrelevant tone. This intersensory facilitation effect is often attributed to multisensory integration, but here we show it to be a reflection of temporal preparation. According to this view, the more rapidly processed tone serves as a warning signal (S1), which initiates preparation for the more sluggish visual target (S2). To test this view, we varied the delay between S1 and S2 in conjunction with the modality of S1 (auditory or visual). For brief delays, responses to S2 were faster when S1 was auditory than when it was visual. Crucially, however, this intersensory facilitation effect disappeared after a simple correction for the difference in S1-detection time, equating the effective preparation period. The obtained audio-visual equivalence shows that sound speeds response to a visual target through preparation, not integration.

Affiliations: 1: 1VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2: 2The University of Sydney, Australia

People respond faster to a visual target stimulus when it is accompanied by a task-irrelevant tone. This intersensory facilitation effect is often attributed to multisensory integration, but here we show it to be a reflection of temporal preparation. According to this view, the more rapidly processed tone serves as a warning signal (S1), which initiates preparation for the more sluggish visual target (S2). To test this view, we varied the delay between S1 and S2 in conjunction with the modality of S1 (auditory or visual). For brief delays, responses to S2 were faster when S1 was auditory than when it was visual. Crucially, however, this intersensory facilitation effect disappeared after a simple correction for the difference in S1-detection time, equating the effective preparation period. The obtained audio-visual equivalence shows that sound speeds response to a visual target through preparation, not integration.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134808-000s0063
2013-05-16
2016-12-08

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