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Exp Brain Res. 2008 Dec;191(4):473-85. doi: 10.1007/s00221-008-1543-1. Epub 2008 Aug 26.

Distortions of perceived auditory and visual space following adaptation to motion.

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Visual Neuroscience Group, School of Psychology, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, UK.


Adaptation to visual motion can induce marked distortions of the perceived spatial location of subsequently viewed stationary objects. These positional shifts are direction specific and exhibit tuning for the speed of the adapting stimulus. In this study, we sought to establish whether comparable motion-induced distortions of space can be induced in the auditory domain. Using individually measured head related transfer functions (HRTFs) we created auditory stimuli that moved either leftward or rightward in the horizontal plane. Participants adapted to unidirectional auditory motion presented at a range of speeds and then judged the spatial location of a brief stationary test stimulus. All participants displayed direction-dependent and speed-tuned shifts in perceived auditory position relative to a 'no adaptation' baseline measure. To permit direct comparison between effects in different sensory domains, measurements of visual motion-induced distortions of perceived position were also made using stimuli equated in positional sensitivity for each participant. Both the overall magnitude of the observed positional shifts, and the nature of their tuning with respect to adaptor speed were similar in each case. A third experiment was carried out where participants adapted to visual motion prior to making auditory position judgements. Similar to the previous experiments, shifts in the direction opposite to that of the adapting motion were observed. These results add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that the neural mechanisms that encode visual and auditory motion are more similar than previously thought.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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