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Collins Opoku-Baah, Mark T. Wallace; Binocular Enhancement of Multisensory Temporal Perception. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(3):7. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.3.7.
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The goal of this study was to examine the behavioral effects and to suggest possible underlying mechanisms of binocularity on audiovisual temporal perception in normally-sighted individuals.
Participants performed two audiovisual simultaneity judgment tasks—one using simple flashes and beeps and the other using audiovisual speech stimuli—with the left eye, right eye, and both eyes. Two measures, the point of subjective simultaneity (PSS) and the temporal binding window (TBW), an index for audiovisual temporal acuity, were derived for each viewing condition, stimulus type, and participant. The data were then modeled using causal inference, allowing us to determine whether binocularity affected low-level unisensory mechanisms (i.e., sensory noise level) or high-level multisensory mechanisms (i.e., prior probability of interring a common cause, pC=1).
Whereas for the PSS there was no significant effect of viewing condition, for the TBW, a significant interaction between stimulus type and viewing condition was found. Post hoc analyses revealed a significantly narrower TBW during binocular than monocular viewing (average of left and right eyes) for the flash-beep condition but no difference between the viewing conditions for the speech stimuli. Modeling results showed no significant difference in pC=1 but a significant reduction in sensory noise during binocular performance on flash-beep trials.
Binocular viewing was found to enhance audiovisual temporal acuity as indexed by the TBW for simple low-level audiovisual stimuli. Furthermore, modeling results suggest that this effect may stem from enhanced sensory representations evidenced as a reduction in sensory noise affecting the measurement of physical asynchrony during audiovisual temporal perception.
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