Audiovisual synchrony and temporal order judgments: effects of experimental method and stimulus type

Percept Psychophys. 2008 Aug;70(6):955-68. doi: 10.3758/pp.70.6.955.


When an audio-visual event is perceived in the natural environment, a physical delay will always occur between the arrival of the leading visual component and that of the trailing auditory component. This natural timing relationship suggests that the point of subjective simultaneity (PSS) should occur at an auditory delay greater than or equal to 0 msec. A review of the literature suggests that PSS estimates derived from a temporal order judgment (TOJ) task differ from those derived from a synchrony judgment (SJ) task, with (unnatural) auditory-leading PSS values reported mainly for the TOJ task. We report data from two stimulus types that differed in terms of complexity--namely, (1) a flash and a click and (2) a bouncing ball and an impact sound. The same participants judged the temporal order and synchrony of both stimulus types, using three experimental methods: (1) a TOJ task with two response categories ("audio first" or "video first"), (2) an SJ task with two response categories ("synchronous" or "asynchronous"; SJ2), and (3) an SJ task with three response categories ("audio first," "synchronous," or "video first"; SJ3). Both stimulus types produced correlated PSS estimates with the SJ tasks, but the estimates from the TOJ procedure were uncorrelated with those obtained from the SJ tasks. These results suggest that the SJ task should be preferred over the TOJ task when the primary interest is i n perceived audio-visualsynchrony.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Perception*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Time Perception*
  • Videotape Recording
  • Visual Perception*