The auditory signals at the ear can be affected by components arriving both directly from a sound source and indirectly via environmental reverberation. Previous studies have suggested that the perceptual separation of these contributions can be aided by expectations of likely reverberant qualities. Here, we investigated whether vision can provide information about the auditory properties of physical locations that could also be used to develop such expectations. We presented participants with audiovisual stimuli derived from 10 simulated real-world locations via a head-mounted display (HMD; ) or a web-based () delivery method. On each trial, participants viewed a first-person perspective rendering of a location before hearing a spoken utterance that was convolved with an impulse response that was from a location that was either the same as (congruent) or different to (incongruent) the visually-depicted location. We find that audiovisual congruence was associated with an increase in the probability of participants reporting an audiovisual match of about 0.22 (95% credible interval: ), and that participants were more likely to confuse audiovisual pairs as matching if their locations had similar reverberation times. Overall, this study suggests that human perceivers have a capacity to form expectations of reverberation from visual information. Such expectations may be useful for the perceptual challenge of separating sound sources and reverberation from within the signal available at the ear.
Differential reinforcement of low rate (DRL) responding is a schedule-controlled behavior sometimes used in timing research, but also received critics of not providing a pure measure of timing due to the influence of the subject’s motivation or inhibitory control. Nevertheless, we argue that the DRL task provides a unique approach to study how timing and emotion interact with each other. Here, we review evidence showing that male rats prenatally treated with choline supplementation had difficulty in acquiring longer criterion times in the DRL task. This was possibly due to the stronger memory strength of their previously learned shorter criterion times. Female rats, in contrast, performed better than male rats in the same task, but those receiving prenatal choline supplementation were the best performers in this task with longer criterion times because they required less training. Like all female rats, male rats treated with prenatal choline supplementation made very few burst responses, suggesting that the treatment improved male rats’ emotional regulation when facing ‘frustrating’ outcomes. The differential impulse control plus different memory strength of the rats trained in the DRL task revealed the potential interaction of sex hormones and prenatal choline supplementation, a rare combination in a single animal study on timing and time perception. In summary, although the DRL task is certainly not the best timing task, it may be useful in assisting us in better understanding how time perception participates in emotional regulation, especially relevant when the emotion is triggered by a failure in timing.
Biological timing (including circadian and interval timing) has mainly focused on rigorously controlled laboratory experiments. There are relatively few studies looking into interval timing behaviors in the wild, which could be understandable due to the complexity of the experimental design but are definitely needed in order to comprehend the adaptive value of such behavior. In this opinion paper we review some of the literature regarding timing observations under field conditions, including reports from birds and mammals, and propose a call-to-action to think about the need of a more naturalistic interpretation of time production and perception, as well as the advantage of designing more ‘natural’ settings in the laboratory.