Intersensory binding across space and time: a tutorial review

Atten Percept Psychophys. 2013 Jul;75(5):790-811. doi: 10.3758/s13414-013-0475-4.


Spatial ventriloquism refers to the phenomenon that a visual stimulus such as a flash can attract the perceived location of a spatially discordant but temporally synchronous sound. An analogous example of mutual attraction between audition and vision has been found in the temporal domain, where temporal aspects of a visual event, such as its onset, frequency, or duration, can be biased by a slightly asynchronous sound. In this review, we examine various manifestations of spatial and temporal attraction between the senses (both direct effects and aftereffects), and we discuss important constraints on the occurrence of these effects. Factors that potentially modulate ventriloquism-such as attention, synesthetic correspondence, and other cognitive factors-are described. We trace theories and models of spatial and temporal ventriloquism, from the traditional unity assumption and modality appropriateness hypothesis to more recent Bayesian and neural network approaches. Finally, we summarize recent evidence probing the underlying neural mechanisms of spatial and temporal ventriloquism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Humans
  • Sound Localization / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*