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PLoS One. 2017 Jun 9;12(6):e0179516. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179516. eCollection 2017.

Alterations in audiovisual simultaneity perception in amblyopia.

Richards MD1,2,3, Goltz HC2,4, Wong AMF2,3,4.

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Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.
Program in Neurosciences and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.


Amblyopia is a developmental visual impairment that is increasingly recognized to affect higher-level perceptual and multisensory processes. To further investigate the audiovisual (AV) perceptual impairments associated with this condition, we characterized the temporal interval in which asynchronous auditory and visual stimuli are perceived as simultaneous 50% of the time (i.e., the AV simultaneity window). Adults with unilateral amblyopia (n = 17) and visually normal controls (n = 17) judged the simultaneity of a flash and a click presented with both eyes viewing. The signal onset asynchrony (SOA) varied from 0 ms to 450 ms for auditory-lead and visual-lead conditions. A subset of participants with amblyopia (n = 6) was tested monocularly. Compared to the control group, the auditory-lead side of the AV simultaneity window was widened by 48 ms (36%; p = 0.002), whereas that of the visual-lead side was widened by 86 ms (37%; p = 0.02). The overall mean window width was 500 ms, compared to 366 ms among controls (37% wider; p = 0.002). Among participants with amblyopia, the simultaneity window parameters were unchanged by viewing condition, but subgroup analysis revealed differential effects on the parameters by amblyopia severity, etiology, and foveal suppression status. Possible mechanisms to explain these findings include visual temporal uncertainty, interocular perceptual latency asymmetry, and disruption of normal developmental tuning of sensitivity to audiovisual asynchrony.

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