Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Audition Dominates Vision in Duration Perception Irrespective of Salience, Attention, and Temporal Discriminability

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Audition Dominates Vision in Duration Perception Irrespective of Salience, Attention, and Temporal Discriminability

Article excerpt

Published online: 8 May 2014

# Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Abstract Whereas the visual modality tends to dominate over the auditory modality in bimodal spatial perception, the auditory modality tends to dominate over the visual modality in bimodal temporal perception. Recent results suggest that the visual modality dominates bimodal spatial perception because spatial discriminability is typically greater for the visual than for the auditory modality; accordingly, visual dominance is eliminated or reversed when visual-spatial discriminability is reduced by degrading visual stimuli to be equivalent or inferior to auditory spatial discriminability. Thus, for spatial perception, the modality that provides greater discriminability dominates. Here, we ask whether auditory dominance in duration perception is similarly explained by factors that influence the relative quality of auditory and visual signals. In contrast to the spatial results, the auditory modality dominated over the visual modality in bimodal duration perception even when the auditory signal was clearly weaker, when the auditory signal was ignored (i.e., the visual signal was selectively attended), and when the temporal discriminability was equivalent for the auditory and visual signals. Thus, unlike spatial perception, where the modality carrying more discriminable signals dominates, duration perception seems to be mandatorily linked to auditory processing under most circumstances.

Keywords Time perception . Modality effect . Auditory dominance . Selective attention


Auditory-visual interactions have been extensively studied in relation to the perception of spatial location (e.g., Alais & Burr, 2004; Andersen, Snyder, Bradley, & Xing, 1997; Bolognini, Frassinetti, Serino, & Làdavas, 2005; Driver & Spence, 1998; Frassinetti, Bolognini, & Làdavas, 2002; Stein, 1997; Stein, Meredith, Huneycutt, & McDade, 1989), of objects (e.g., Amedi, von Kriegstein, van Atteveldt, Beauchamp, & Naumer, 2005; Beauchamp, Argall, Bodurka, Duyn, & Martin, 2004; Beauchamp, Lee, Argall, &Martin, 2004; Iordanescu, Guzman-Martinez, Grabowecky, & Suzuki, 2008; Molholm, Martinez, Ritter, Javitt, & Foxe, 2005; Smith, Grabowecky, & Suzuki, 2007; von Kriegstein, Kleinschmidt, Sterzer, & Giraud, 2005), of motion (e.g., Grassi & Casco, 2009; Lewis, Beauchamp, & DeYoe, 2000; Meyer &Wuerger, 2001; Sekuler, Sekuler, & Lau, 1997), and of timing of events (e.g., McDonald, Teder-Salejarvi, Di Russo, & Hillyard, 2005; Shimojo & Shams, 2001). However, relatively little is known about auditory-visual interactions in the perception of duration.

In particular, processing of short durations is crucial for fine motor behavior, as well as for the perception of motion, rhythm, and speech (see Mauk & Buonomano, 2004, for a review). Furthermore, short durations up to about a second are directly perceived (e.g., Johnston, Arnold, & Nishida, 2006; Ortega, Guzman-Martinez, Grabowecky, & Suzuki, 2012), independently of cognitive strategies such as counting (e.g., Grondin, Meilleur-Wells, & Lachance, 1999). We thus investigated how auditory and visual modalities influence the perceived duration of a short bimodal event.

We took advantage of the well-known phenomenon where an auditory stimulus is perceived to be longer than a visual stimulus of the same physical duration (e.g., Droit-Volet, Meck, & Penney, 2007; Goldstone & Goldfarb, 1964; Grondin, Meilleur-Wells, Ouellette, & Macar, 1998; Ortega, Lopez, & Church, 2009; Penney, 2003; Wearden, Edwards, Fakhri,&Percival, 1998;Wearden, Todd,&Jones, 2006). It is thought that auditory stimuli are perceived to be longer partly because an internal clock in the auditorymodalitymay run at a faster rate than a visual clock, generating a greater number of accumulated "ticks" (e.g., Penney, Allan, Meck, & Gibbon, 1998; Penney, Gibbon, & Meck, 2000; Wearden et al. …

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