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Exp Brain Res. 2009 Sep;198(2-3):233-44. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-1917-z. Epub 2009 Jul 10.

Stimulus duration influences perceived simultaneity in audiovisual temporal-order judgment.

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1
Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, 39118 Magdeburg, Germany.

Abstract

The temporal integration of stimuli in different sensory modalities plays a crucial role in multisensory processing. Previous studies using temporal-order judgments to determine the point of subjective simultaneity (PSS) with multisensory stimulation yielded conflicting results on modality-specific delays. While it is known that the relative stimulus intensities of stimuli from different sensory modalities affect their perceived temporal order, we have hypothesized that some of these discrepancies might be explained by a previously overlooked confounding factor, namely the duration of the stimulus. We therefore studied the influence of both factors on the PSS in a spatial-audiovisual temporal-order task. In addition to confirming previous results on the role of stimulus intensity, we report that varying the temporal duration of an audiovisual stimulus pair also affects the perceived temporal order of the auditory and visual stimulus components. Although individual PSS values varied from negative to positive values across participants, we found a systematic shift of PSS values in all participants toward a common attractor value with increasing stimulus duration. This resulted in a stabilization of PSS values with increasing stimulus duration, indicative of a mechanism that compensates individual imbalances between sensory modalities, which might arise from attentional biases toward one modality at short stimulus durations.

PMID:
19590862
DOI:
10.1007/s00221-009-1917-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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