On the Temporal Precision of Thought: Individual Differences in the Multisensory Temporal Binding Window Predict Performance on Verbal and Nonverbal Problem Solving Tasks

In: Multisensory Research
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  • 1 1Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • | 2 2Institute for Psychological Research & Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands
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Although psychology is greatly preoccupied by the tight link between the way that individuals perceive the world and their intelligent, creative behavior, there is little experimental work on the relationship between individual differences in perception and cognitive ability in healthy populations. Here, individual differences in problem solving ability were examined in relation to multisensory perception as measured by tolerance for temporal asynchrony between auditory and visual inputs, i.e., the multisensory temporal binding window. The results demonstrated that enhanced performance in both verbal and nonverbal problem solving tasks (the Remote Associates Test and Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices Task) is predicted by a narrower audio-visual temporal binding window, which reflects greater sensitivity to subtle discrepancies in sensory inputs. This suggests that the precision of individuals’ temporal window of multisensory integration might mirror their capacities for complex reasoning and thus the precision of their thoughts.

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