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Full Access The influence of temporal regularities and cross-modal temporal cues on auditory detection

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The influence of temporal regularities and cross-modal temporal cues on auditory detection

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Temporal structure in the environment often has predictive value for anticipating the occurrence of forthcoming events. In this study we compared the influence of two types of predictive temporal information on auditory perception: (1) intrinsic temporal rhythmicity of an auditory stimulus stream and (2) temporally-predictive visual cues. We hypothesized that combining predictive temporal information within- and across-modality would improve auditory detection, beyond the advantage provided by each information source alone. We presented streams of tones at either increasing or decreasing intensities until participants reported that they could hear/no longer hear the tones. Tones were presented in either rhythmic or random sequences and were preceded by a temporally predictive visual flash in half of the trials. We show that detection thresholds are lower for rhythmic (vs. random) and audiovisual (vs. auditory-only) presentation, and that this effect is additive for rhythmic audiovisual presentation in both paradigms. These behavioral results suggest that both types of temporal information are used in parallel to prepare the perceptual system for upcoming stimuli and to optimally interact with the environment. Our findings underscore the flexibility and proactivity of the perceptual system which uses these temporal contextual factors combined to anticipate upcoming events and process them optimally.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, University Maastricht, The Netherlands; 2: 4New York University, New York, NY, USA; 3: 5Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience & Maastricht University, The Netherlands; 4: 3Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Temporal structure in the environment often has predictive value for anticipating the occurrence of forthcoming events. In this study we compared the influence of two types of predictive temporal information on auditory perception: (1) intrinsic temporal rhythmicity of an auditory stimulus stream and (2) temporally-predictive visual cues. We hypothesized that combining predictive temporal information within- and across-modality would improve auditory detection, beyond the advantage provided by each information source alone. We presented streams of tones at either increasing or decreasing intensities until participants reported that they could hear/no longer hear the tones. Tones were presented in either rhythmic or random sequences and were preceded by a temporally predictive visual flash in half of the trials. We show that detection thresholds are lower for rhythmic (vs. random) and audiovisual (vs. auditory-only) presentation, and that this effect is additive for rhythmic audiovisual presentation in both paradigms. These behavioral results suggest that both types of temporal information are used in parallel to prepare the perceptual system for upcoming stimuli and to optimally interact with the environment. Our findings underscore the flexibility and proactivity of the perceptual system which uses these temporal contextual factors combined to anticipate upcoming events and process them optimally.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134808-000s0161
2013-05-16
2016-12-03

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