Audio-tactile superiority over visuo-tactile and audio-visual combinations in the temporal resolution of synchrony perception

Exp Brain Res. 2009 Sep;198(2-3):245-59. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-1870-x. Epub 2009 Jun 5.


To see whether there is a difference in temporal resolution of synchrony perception between audio-visual (AV), visuo-tactile (VT), and audio-tactile (AT) combinations, we compared synchrony-asynchrony discrimination thresholds of human participants. Visual and auditory stimuli were, respectively, a luminance-modulated Gaussian blob and an amplitude-modulated white noise. Tactile stimuli were mechanical vibrations presented to the index finger. All the stimuli were temporally modulated by either single pulses or repetitive-pulse trains. The results show that the temporal resolution of synchrony perception was similar for AV and VT (e.g., approximately 4 Hz for repetitive-pulse stimuli), but significantly higher for AT approximately 10 Hz). Apart from having a higher temporal resolution, however, AT synchrony perception was similar to AV synchrony perception in that participants could select matching features through attention, and a change in the matching-feature attribute had little effect on temporal resolution. The AT superiority in temporal resolution was indicated not only by synchrony-asynchrony discrimination but also by simultaneity judgments. Temporal order judgments were less affected by modality combination than the other two tasks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Differential Threshold
  • Humans
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Psychophysics
  • Time Factors
  • Touch Perception*
  • Visual Perception*