The Consistency of Crossmodal Synchrony Perception across the Visual, Auditory, and Tactile Senses

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Crossmodal judgments of relative timing commonly yield a non-zero point of subjective simultaneity (PSS). Here, we test whether subjective simultaneity is coherent across all pair-wise combinations of the visual, auditory, and tactile modalities. To this end, we examine PSS estimates for transitivity: if stimulus A has to be presented x ms before stimulus B to result in subjective simultaneity, and B y ms before C, then A and C should appear simultaneous when A precedes C by z ms, where z=x+y. We obtained PSS estimates via two different timing judgment tasks — temporal order judgments (TOJ) and synchrony judgments (SJ) — thus allowing us to examine the relationship between TOJ and SJ. We find that (i) SJ estimates do not violate transitivity, and that (ii) TOJ and SJ data are linearly related. Together, these findings suggest that both TOJ and SJ access the same perceptual representation of simultaneity and that this representation is globally coherent across the tested modalities. Furthermore, we find that (iii) TOJ estimates are intransitive. This is consistent with the proposal that while the perceptual representation of simultaneity is coherent, relative timing judgments that access this representation can at times be incoherent with each other due to post-perceptual response biases.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Early online date25 Jan 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2016