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Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 17;8(1):924. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-19218-z.

Rate after-effects fail to transfer cross-modally: Evidence for distributed sensory timing mechanisms.

Author information

1
School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ, United Kingdom.
2
Bradford School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Bradford, Bradford, BD7 1DP, United Kingdom.
3
Visual Neuroscience Group, School of Psychology, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, United Kingdom.
4
School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ, United Kingdom. whitakerd@cardiff.ac.uk.

Abstract

Accurate time perception is critical for a number of human behaviours, such as understanding speech and the appreciation of music. However, it remains unresolved whether sensory time perception is mediated by a central timing component regulating all senses, or by a set of distributed mechanisms, each dedicated to a single sensory modality and operating in a largely independent manner. To address this issue, we conducted a range of unimodal and cross-modal rate adaptation experiments, in order to establish the degree of specificity of classical after-effects of sensory adaptation. Adapting to a fast rate of sensory stimulation typically makes a moderate rate appear slower (repulsive after-effect), and vice versa. A central timing hypothesis predicts general transfer of adaptation effects across modalities, whilst distributed mechanisms predict a high degree of sensory selectivity. Rate perception was quantified by a method of temporal reproduction across all combinations of visual, auditory and tactile senses. Robust repulsive after-effects were observed in all unimodal rate conditions, but were not observed for any cross-modal pairings. Our results show that sensory timing abilities are adaptable but, crucially, that this change is modality-specific - an outcome that is consistent with a distributed sensory timing hypothesis.

PMID:
29343859
PMCID:
PMC5772423
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-018-19218-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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