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Michael D. Richards, Herbert C. Goltz, Agnes M. F. Wong; Temporal Ventriloquism Reveals Intact Audiovisual Temporal Integration in Amblyopia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(2):637-643. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-22613.
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We have shown previously that amblyopia involves impaired detection of asynchrony between auditory and visual events. To distinguish whether this impairment represents a defect in temporal integration or nonintegrative multisensory processing (e.g., cross-modal matching), we used the temporal ventriloquism effect in which visual temporal order judgment (TOJ) is normally enhanced by a lagging auditory click.
Participants with amblyopia (n = 9) and normally sighted controls (n = 9) performed a visual TOJ task. Pairs of clicks accompanied the two lights such that the first click preceded the first light, or second click lagged the second light by 100, 200, or 450 ms. Baseline audiovisual synchrony and visual-only conditions also were tested.
Within both groups, just noticeable differences for the visual TOJ task were significantly reduced compared with baseline in the 100- and 200-ms click lag conditions. Within the amblyopia group, poorer stereo acuity and poorer visual acuity in the amblyopic eye were significantly associated with greater enhancement in visual TOJ performance in the 200-ms click lag condition.
Audiovisual temporal integration is intact in amblyopia, as indicated by perceptual enhancement in the temporal ventriloquism effect. Furthermore, poorer stereo acuity and poorer visual acuity in the amblyopic eye are associated with a widened temporal binding window for the effect. These findings suggest that previously reported abnormalities in audiovisual multisensory processing may result from impaired cross-modal matching rather than a diminished capacity for temporal audiovisual integration.
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