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A deafening flash! Visual interference of auditory signal detection

Fassnidge, C., Cecconi-Marcotti, C. and Freeman, E. D. (2017). A deafening flash! Visual interference of auditory signal detection. Consciousness and Cognition, 49, pp. 15-24. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2016.12.009

Abstract

In some people, visual stimulation evokes auditory sensations. How prevalent and how perceptually real is this? Of 40 neurotypical adults, 22% responded 'Yes' when asked whether they heard faint sounds accompanying flash stimuli, and showed significantly better ability to discriminate visual ‘Morse-code’ sequences. This benefit might arise from an ability to recode of visual signals as sounds, thus taking advantage of superior temporal acuity of audition. In support of this, those who showed better visual relative to auditory also had poorer auditory detection in the presence of uninformative visual flashes, though this was independent of awareness of visually-evoked sounds. Thus a visually-evoked auditory representation may occur subliminally and disrupt detection of real auditory signals. The frequent natural correlation between visual and auditory stimuli might explain the surprising prevalence of this phenomenon. Overall, our results suggest that learned correspondences between strongly correlated modalities may provide a precursor for some synaesthetic abilities.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Publisher Keywords: Synaesthesia; Perception; Audiovisual integration; Individual differences; Psychophysics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/16041
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