Sounds Modulate the Perceived Duration of Visual Stimuli via Crossmodal Integration

in Multisensory Research
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Previous studies have shown that the perceived duration of visual stimuli can be strongly distorted by auditory stimuli presented simultaneously. In this study, we examine whether sounds presented separately from target visual stimuli alter the perceived duration of the target’s presentation. The participants’ task was to classify the duration of the target visual stimuli as perceived by them into four categories. Our results demonstrate that a sound presented before and after a visual target increases or decreases the perceived visual duration depending on the inter-stimulus interval between the sounds and the visual stimulus. In addition, three tones presented before and after a visual target did not increase or decrease the perceived visual duration. This indicates that auditory perceptual grouping prevents intermodal perceptual grouping, and eliminates crossmodal effects. These findings suggest that the auditory–visual integration, rather than a high arousal state caused by the presentation of the preceding sound, can induce distortions of perceived visual duration, and that inter- and intramodal perceptual grouping plays an important role in crossmodal time perception. These findings are discussed with reference to the Scalar Expectancy Theory.

Sounds Modulate the Perceived Duration of Visual Stimuli via Crossmodal Integration

in Multisensory Research



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    Schematic representation of the procedure in Experiment 1. Participants categorized the presentation duration of visual stimuli into one of four categories on each trial. In the sound-present condition, a 50-ms sound was presented before and after the visual target stimuli.

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    Results for Experiment 1. The vertical axis indicates the mean scores of the participants’ categorizations (from 0 to 3) in the duration category-estimation task in both panels. Higher y values represent longer perceived durations. The horizontal axis in left panel indicates the ISI between the auditory non-targets and visual targets. ‘NS’ indicates trials in which sound was not presented. The horizontal axis in the right panel indicates the duration of the visual stimuli. The right panel only represents the 0 ms, 200 ms, and NS conditions to more clearly illustrate the relationship between the duration of the visual stimuli and the effects of sounds. Error bars represent standard errors (n=15).

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    Schematic representation of the procedure in Experiment 2. Participants categorized the presentation duration of visual stimuli into one of four categories on each trial. In the sound-present condition, a 50 ms sound was presented three times before and after the visual targets.

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    Results for Experiments 2. The vertical axes indicate the mean scores of the participants’ categorizations in the duration category-estimation task. Higher y values represent longer perceived durations. The horizontal axes indicate the ISI between the auditory and visual stimuli. ‘NS’ indicates trials on which sounds were not presented. Error bars represent standard errors (n=8).


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