What you see is what you just heard: The effect of temporal rate adaptation on human intersensory perception

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It is unknown from previous studies on perception whether psychophysical adaptation effects transfer from one sense to another. To test for this phenomenon, the current study examines the possible crossmodal transfer of temporal rate adaptation from vision to audition (VA) and from audition to vision (AV). Through exposure to either repetitive auditory or visual stimuli, subjects are unimodally adapted to stimuli at a specific rate. Before and after adaptation, subjects are asked to discriminate the perceived rapidity of stimuli (of the other sensory modality) presented at a range of frequencies as compared to that of stimuli at a familiar average frequency. A comparison of the pre- and post-test responses shows whether there is evidence for crossmodal changes in subjects? perception of temporal rate. Due to the resulting shift in subjects? sense of rate, if adaptation to stimuli faster than those presented during testing occurs, the subsequent stimuli will seem slower than they would before adaptation. On the other hand, if adaptation to slower stimuli occurs, the opposite effect should be seen. Current data suggests the presence of crossmodal effects in both the VA and AV conditions. However, further data collection is being conducted to verify these preliminary findings.


Carmel Levitan and Shinsuke Shimojo (Caltech)




Cognitive Science Department

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