Author: Charles Spence

Abstract

The failure of e-books to take over from the traditional print format, as was so confidently predicted would happen only a few years ago, highlights how there is more to reading than merely the content of what we see. In fact, like any other object, the experience of interacting with a book, especially an old or historic volume, offers the reader the potential for a multisensory encounter. One that involves not only what the book looks and feels like, both the weight of the volume and the feel of the pages, but also the distinctive smell. In fact, one might also want to consider the particular sound made by the pages as they are turned over. However, it is the smell of older, and seemingly more olfactorily-redolent, works that appears to be especially effective at triggering nostalgic associations amongst readers. It is therefore only by understanding the multisensory nature of handling books, as stressed by this review, that one can really hope to fully appreciate the enduring appeal of the traditional format in the modern digital era. Several recent exhibitions that have attempted to engage their visitors by means of exploring the multisensory appeal of historic books or manuscripts in their collections are briefly discussed. While the multisensory mental imagery that is typically evoked by reading is unlikely to differ much between the print and e-book formats, there is nevertheless still some evidence to suggest that physical books can occasionally convey information more effectively than their digital counterparts.

In: Multisensory Research

Our timing estimates are often prone to distortions from non-temporal attributes such as the direction of motion. Motion direction has been reported to lead to interval dilation when the movement is toward (i.e., looming) as compared to away from the viewer (i.e., receding). This perceptual asymmetry has been interpreted based on the contextual salience and prioritization of looming stimuli that allows for timely reactions to approaching objects. This asymmetry has mainly been studied through abstract stimulation with minimal social relevance. Focusing on the latter, we utilized naturalistic displays of biological motion and examined the aforementioned perceptual asymmetry in the temporal domain. In Experiment 1, we tested visual looming and receding human movement at various intervals in a reproduction task and found no differences in the participants’ timing estimates as a function of motion direction. Given the superiority of audition in timing, in Experiment 2, we combined the looming and receding visual stimulation with sound stimulation of congruent, incongruent, or no direction information. The analysis showed an overestimation of the looming as compared to the receding visual stimulation when the sound presented was of congruent or no direction, while no such difference was noted for the incongruent condition. Both looming and receding conditions (congruent and control) led to underestimations as compared to the physical durations tested. Thus, the asymmetry obtained could be attributed to the potential perceptual negligibility of the receding stimuli instead of the often-reported salience of looming motion. The results are also discussed in terms of the optimality of sound in the temporal domain.

In: Timing & Time Perception

Abstract

Crossmodal correspondences (CMC) systematically associate perceptual dimensions in different sensory modalities (e.g., auditory pitch and visual brightness), and affect perception, cognition, and action. While previous work typically investigated associations between basic perceptual dimensions, here we present a new type of CMC, involving a high-level, quasi-syntactic schema: music tonality. Tonality governs most Western music and regulates stability and tension in melodic and harmonic progressions. Musicians have long associated tonal stability with non-auditory domains, yet such correspondences have hardly been investigated empirically. Here, we investigated CMC between tonal stability and visual brightness, in musicians and in non-musicians, using explicit and implicit measures. On the explicit test, participants heard a tonality-establishing context followed by a probe tone, and matched each probe to one of several circles, varying in brightness. On the implicit test, we applied the Implicit Association Test to auditory (tonally stable or unstable sequences) and visual (bright or dark circles) stimuli. The findings indicate that tonal stability is associated with visual brightness both explicitly and implicitly. They further suggest that this correspondence depends only partially on conceptual musical knowledge, as it also operates through fast, unintentional, and arguably automatic processes in musicians and non-musicians alike. By showing that abstract musical structure can establish concrete connotations to a non-auditory perceptual domain, our results open a hitherto unexplored avenue for research, associating syntactical structure with connotative meaning.

In: Multisensory Research
Author: Taku Morimoto

Abstract

I conducted three experiments to investigate haptic working memory capacity using a haptic change detection task with 2D stimuli. I adopted a single-task paradigm comprising haptic single-feature (orientation or texture) and haptic multifeature (orientation and texture) conditions in Experiment 1 and a dual-task paradigm with a primary haptic orientation or texture change detection task and a concurrent secondary visual shape or colour change detection task in Experiments 2–3. I observed that in the single-task paradigm, haptic change detection capacity was higher for single features than it was for multiple features. In haptic working memory, unlike in visual working memory, features of two different dimensions within an object cannot be integrated. In the dual-task paradigm, interference was observed when the concurrent visual shape change detection task was combined with the haptic orientation change detection task although interference was not observed when the concurrent visual colour change detection task was combined with it. In addition, the concurrent visual shape or colour change detection task did not interfere with the capacity for haptic texture memory, which was higher than that for haptic orientation memory. These findings demonstrate that geometric properties perhaps retained a common storage system shared between haptic working memory and visual working memory; however, haptic texture might be retained in an independent stable storage system that is haptic-specific.

In: Multisensory Research

We present a speculative account of lived-time at the level of sentience as distinct from sapience. It implies refraining from reference to clock-time. The account is necessarily in terms of meaning. Thus, familiar concepts such as the specious moment, retention and protention mechanisms are re-evaluated. Lived-time does not have a ‘time-line topology’. It has a volatile, irregular texture rather than a sequential linear order. Indeed, lived-time is necessarily an articulate moment, because awareness is not extended, but here-and-now. Thus, Gestalts in static images often have temporal qualities. Yet they can hardly reflect clock-time, as they are ‘frozen happenings’. This applies to many works of art. We especially focus on painting, sculpture and cinema. Narrative structures in the arts have a close similarity to lived-time. Thus, the analyses of the arts and of visual awareness, including daydreams and dreams, mutually illuminate each other. Our account rides the edge that separates sentience from sapience.

In: Art & Perception
Author: Sadia Sadia

Current neuroscientific methods for the investigation of art experience are circumscribed by the researcher’s own cultural constructions of gender, art and beauty, and these present difficulties in the production of unassailable empirical data. Gathering biometric data of viewers or participants’ responses to artworks remains equally problematic as a consequence of the anticipation or arousal brought about by the act of preparing the subject for the collection of data. Much of the methodology that has been designed to study aesthetic psychological and affective states is based in classicism, a convention which contemporary experiential art defies. There is a group of contemporary experiential artworks, defined herein as ATRIA (Affective Transcendental Revelatory Immersive Artworks), which report a significantly higher rate for profound, life-changing, epiphanic, transcendent experiences, and the study of the experience of these artworks defies current methodologies. An understanding of these works and states requires a re-evaluation of the value of subjective reportage and the personal truths that are central to these experiences of art. Research artists understand that objective reality does not lie at the core of the experience of art, and that practice-based artist-led research (PBR) must as a consequence critically inform any neuroaesthetic or neuroscientific endeavour or study. The article is an opinion paper by a practising artist, academic and researcher.

In: Art & Perception

We execute most of our movements in order to elicit an intended effect. This kind of intentionality is commonly assumed to drive a temporal illusion, referred to as Intentional Binding (IB): Stimuli intentionally elicited by one’s own action (i.e., effects) are perceived as temporally earlier compared to unintentionally occurring stimuli (not elicited by one’s own action). It is currently under debate whether intentionality is necessary for IB to occur, or whether causality might be sufficient for IB to occur. In the present study, we investigated the importance of an intention for the occurrence of IB. Employing a Libet Clock paradigm, we assessed IB for effects which participants were instructed to cause by their action (i.e., intended effect) as well as for effects participants were instructed not to cause by their action (i.e., unintended effect). Both effects, the intended as well as the unintended, were subject to IB, with a Bayesian analysis favoring no difference for both effect types. This implies that even an unintended effect is subject to IB and that, thus, causality instead of intentionality might be sufficient for IB.

In: Timing & Time Perception
Author: Teresa Pedro

Empirical research on the relationship between temporality and causation is mostly dominated by the question of how temporal information constrains causal cognition. However, Bechlivanidis and Lagnado (2013, Psychol. Sci., 24, 1563–1572; 2016, Cognition, 146, 58–66) recently claimed to have discovered the ‘reordering effect’, in which causal beliefs have an influence on perception of temporal order. This paper argues for an attentional interpretation of this effect and suggests a solution to the circularity that arises from the mutual constraint between causal assumptions and perception of temporal order. Finally, it is shown how the reordering effect may challenge certain philosophical accounts of temporal illusions.

In: Timing & Time Perception

In this study we examined whether the exposure to speed-altered audio clips of speech-like stimuli can distort systematically the subjective sense of time. Participants listened to stimuli of varying durations and speeds and reproduced their durations. Results revealed that both speed and actual duration influenced the length of reproduced durations. In particular, participants reproduced durations as longer when they listened to fast compared to slow speech-like stimuli of the same actual duration. In addition, the reproduced durations of long stimuli deviated more from their veridical durations compared to those of short stimuli. Notably, a significant interaction indicated that the effect of speed was greater for stimuli of short than of long actual durations. We argue that listening to fast speech-like stimuli speeds up the pacemaker component of the internal clock, leading to overestimation of the actual duration. The implications of these findings for the theories of time perception are discussed.

In: Timing & Time Perception

The velocity of moving stimuli has been linked to their experienced duration. This effect was extended to instances of self-motion, where one’s own movement affects the subjective length of time. However, the experimental evidence for this extension is scarce and the effect of self-motion has not been investigated using a reproduction paradigm. Therefore, we designed a virtual reality scenario that controls for attention and eliminates the confounding effect of velocity and acceleration. The scenario consisted of a virtual road on which participants (n = 26) moved along in a car for six different durations and with six different velocities. We measured the subjective duration of the movement with reproduction and direct numerical estimation. We also assessed levels of presence in the virtual world. Our results show that higher velocity was connected to longer subjective time for both forms of measurement. However, the effect showed deviations from linearity. Presence was not associated with subjective time and did not improve performance on the task. We interpreted the effect of velocity as corroborating previous work using stimulus motion, which showed the same positive association between velocity of movement and subjective time. The absence of an effect of presence was explained in terms of a lacking dependency of time on characteristics of the virtual environment. We suggest applying our findings to the design of virtual experiences intended for inducing time loss.

In: Timing & Time Perception