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J Vis. 2010 Oct 26;10(12):31. doi: 10.1167/10.12.31.

Auditory modulation of visual apparent motion with short spatial and temporal intervals.

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Vision Center Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037-1099, USA.


Recently, E. Freeman and J. Driver (2008) reported a cross-modal temporal interaction in which brief sounds drive the perceived direction of visual apparent-motion, an effect they attributed to "temporal capture" of the visual stimuli by the sounds (S. Morein-Zamir, S. Soto-Faraco, & A. Kingstone, 2003). Freeman and Driver used "long-range" visual motion stimuli, which travel over long spatial and temporal intervals and engage high-order cortical areas (K. G. Claeys, D. T. Lindsey, E. De Schutter, & G. A. Orban, 2003; Y. Zhuo et al., 2003). We asked whether Freeman and Driver's temporal effects extended to the short-range apparent-motion stimuli that engage cortical area MT, a lower-order area with well-established spatiotemporal selectivity for visual motion (e.g. A. Mikami, 1991, 1992; A. Mikami, W. T. Newsome, & R. H. Wurtz, 1986a, 1986b; W. T. Newsome, A. Mikami, & R. H. Wurtz, 1986). Consistent with a temporal-capture account, we found that static sounds bias the perception of both the direction (Experiment 1) and the speed (Experiment 2) of short-range motion. Our results suggest that auditory timing may interact with visual spatiotemporal processing as early as cortical area MT. Examination of the neuronal responses of this well-studied area to the stimuli used in this study would provide a test and might provide insight into the neuronal representation of time.

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