Perceived temporal asynchrony between sinusoidally modulated luminance and depth

J Vis. 2015;15(15):13. doi: 10.1167/15.15.13.


Simultaneously presented visual events lead to temporally asynchronous percepts. This has led some researchers to conclude that the asynchronous experience is a manifestation of differences in neural processing time for different visual attributes. Others, however, have suggested that the asynchronous experience is due to differences in temporal markers for changes of different visual attributes. Here, two sets of bars were presented, one to each eye. Either the bars were moving or their luminance was gradually changing. Bars moved horizontally in counterphase at low frequencies along short trajectories and were presented stereoscopically, such that the horizontal movements were perceived as back-and-forth motion on a sagittal plane, or monocularly to a dominant eye, preserving a perception of the horizontal movements on a frontal plane. In a control condition, bars were stationary and their luminance was modulated. The changes in stimulus speed or luminance occurred sinusoidally. When asked to adjust the phase of one stimulus to the other to achieve synchronous perception, participants showed a constant phase offset at the lowest frequencies used. Given the absence of abrupt transitions and the presence of similar gradual turning points in our stimuli to control for attentional effects, it can be concluded that asynchronous percepts in multimodal stimuli may at least in part be a manifestation of difference in neural processing time of visual attributes rather than solely a difference in the temporal markers (transitions versus turning points).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cues
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*