Selective Attention Modulates the Direction of Audio-Visual Temporal Recalibration

TitleSelective Attention Modulates the Direction of Audio-Visual Temporal Recalibration
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsIkumi N, Soto-Faraco S
JournalPLoS ONE
Date Published07/ 2014
KeywordsAttention, Audio signal processing, Cognitive Science, Color vision, Luminance, Physical properties, Sensory perception, Vision

Temporal recalibration of cross-modal synchrony has been proposed as a mechanism to compensate for timing differences between sensory modalities. However, far from the rich complexity of everyday life sensory environments, most studies to date have examined recalibration on isolated cross-modal pairings. Here, we hypothesize that selective attention might provide an effective filter to help resolve which stimuli are selected when multiple events compete for recalibration. We addressed this question by testing audio-visual recalibration following an adaptation phase where two opposing audio-visual asynchronies were present. The direction of voluntary visual attention, and therefore to one of the two possible asynchronies (flash leading or flash lagging), was manipulated using colour as a selection criterion. We found a shift in the point of subjective audio-visual simultaneity as a function of whether the observer had focused attention to audio-then-flash or to flash-then-audio groupings during the adaptation phase. A baseline adaptation condition revealed that this effect of endogenous attention was only effective toward the lagging flash. This hints at the role of exogenous capture and/or additional endogenous effects producing an asymmetry toward the leading flash. We conclude that selective attention helps promote selected audio-visual pairings to be combined and subsequently adjusted in time but, stimulus organization exerts a strong impact on recalibration. We tentatively hypothesize that the resolution of recalibration in complex scenarios involves the orchestration of top-down selection mechanisms and stimulus-driven processes.

DOIDOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099311