Filling-in visual motion with sounds

TitleFilling-in visual motion with sounds
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsVäljamäe A, Soto-Faraco S
JournalActa Psychologica
Date Publishedoct
KeywordsAdult, Attention, Auditory Perception, Depth Perception, Female, Figural Aftereffect, Flicker Fusion, Humans, Male, Motion Perception, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Psychophysics, Sensory Thresholds, Sound Localization, Visual

Information about the motion of objects can be extracted by multiple sensory modalities, and, as a consequence, object motion perception typically involves the integration of multi-sensory information. Often, in naturalistic settings, the flow of such information can be rather discontinuous (e.g. a cat racing through the furniture in a cluttered room is partly seen and partly heard). This study addressed audio-visual interactions in the perception of time-sampled object motion by measuring adaptation after-effects. We found significant auditory after-effects following adaptation to unisensory auditory and visual motion in depth, sampled at 12.5 Hz. The visually induced (cross-modal) auditory motion after-effect was eliminated if visual adaptors flashed at half of the rate (6.25 Hz). Remarkably, the addition of the high-rate acoustic flutter (12.5 Hz) to this ineffective, sparsely time-sampled, visual adaptor restored the auditory after-effect to a level comparable to what was seen with high-rate bimodal adaptors (flashes and beeps). Our results suggest that this auditory-induced reinstatement of the motion after-effect from the poor visual signals resulted from the occurrence of sound-induced illusory flashes. This effect was found to be dependent both on the directional congruency between modalities and on the rate of auditory flutter. The auditory filling-in of time-sampled visual motion supports the feasibility of using reduced frame rate visual content in multisensory broadcasting and virtual reality applications.