Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

A Comparison of Visual and Auditory Representational Momentum in Spatial Tasks

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

A Comparison of Visual and Auditory Representational Momentum in Spatial Tasks

Article excerpt

Published online: 18 July 2013

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2013

Abstract Similarities have been observed in the localization of the final position of moving visual and moving auditory stimuli: Perceived endpoints that are judged to be farther in the direction of motion in both modalities likely reflect extrapolation of the trajectory, mediated by predictive mechanisms at higher cognitive levels. However, actual comparisons of the magnitudes of displacement between visual tasks and auditory tasks using the same experimental setup are rare. As such, the purpose of the present free-field study was to investigate the influences of the spatial location of motion offset, stimulus velocity, and motion direction on the localization of the final positions of moving auditory stimuli (Experiment 1 and 2) and moving visual stimuli (Experiment 3). To assess whether auditory performance is affected by dynamically changing binaural cues that are used for the localization of moving auditory stimuli (interaural time differences for low-frequency sounds and interaural intensity differences for high-frequency sounds), two distinct noise bands were employed in Experiments 1 and 2. In all three experiments, less precise encoding of spatial coordinates in paralateral space resulted in larger forward displacements, but this effect was drowned out by the underestimation of target eccentricity in the extreme periphery. Furthermore, our results revealed clear differences between visual and auditory tasks. Displacements in the visual task were dependent on velocity and the spatial location of the final position, but an additional influence of motion direction was observed in the auditory tasks. Together, these findings indicate that the modality-specific processing of motion parameters affects the extrapolation of the trajectory.

Keywords Motion perception . Representational momentum . Visual perception . Auditory perception . Localization

Location cues in moving objects change at each point in time. The visual system senses motion from the pattern of displaced retinal image features (Albright & Stoner, 1995), whereas the auditory system is provided with dynamically changing interaural time or interaural intensity differences (Middlebrooks & Green, 1991). The analysis of these cues requires highly developed neuronal circuits that enable us to integrate motion features and to perceive dynamic aspects of our environment.

A number of studies have dealt with several effects that are specific either to motion onset (the Fröhlich effect: Getzmann, 2005b; Kerzel & Gegenfurtner, 2004; Müsseler & Aschersleben, 1998), to a time point within the trajectory (the flash-lag effect: Alais & Burr, 2003; Bachmann, Murd, & Põder, 2012; Linares, López-Moliner, & Johnston, 2007; Nijhawan, 2001; Vreven & Verghese, 2005), or to the final position of motion (representational momentum: Freyd & Finke, 1984; Getzmann, Lewald, & Guski, 2004; Hubbard, Kumar, & Carp, 2009; Mateeff& Hohnsbein, 1988).

Representational momentum describes a forward displacement at motion offset. Thereby, the final position of motion is typically overestimated-that is, is remembered farther in the direction of motion. Thus far, the most detailed descriptions of this motion-specific effect have been provided for the visual domain (e.g., Freyd &Finke, 1984; Hayes& Freyd, 2002; Hubbard & Motes, 2002; Kerzel, 2002; Maus & Nijhawan, 2009). Representational momentum in spatial hearing was first described by Getzmann et al. (2004), who observed a forward displacement of the final position of a sound source moving through space. This was comparable to what had previously been reported in the perception of moving visual stimuli. Getzmann (2005a) thus suggested that representational momentum is a phenomenon that applies to motion perception in general.

To date, the underlying mechanisms of representational momentum are still a matter of debate. …

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