Illusory double flashes can speed up responses like physical ones: evidence from the sound-induced flash illusion.
ABSTRACT When a single brief flash is accompanied by two auditory beeps, participants often report perceiving two flashes. The present experiment examined whether the perception of illusory redundant flashes can result in faster responses as compared to the perception of a single flash, because previous research has shown such a redundancy gain for physical stimuli. To this end, participants were asked to respond as rapidly as possible to the onset of any flash. Following their response, they additionally indicated whether they perceived a single flash or a double flash. Most importantly, we observed significant shorter reaction times in response to redundant flashes, irrespective of whether they were physically presented or illusorily perceived. Taken together, our results suggest that an illusory percept can affect simple reaction time in much the same manner as the corresponding physical stimulation.
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ABSTRACT: Past studies, using pairings of auditory tones and visual flashes, which were static and coincident in space but variable in time, demonstrated errors in judging the temporal patterning of the visual flashes-the sound-induced flash illusion. These errors took one of the two forms: under-reporting (sound-induced fusion) or over-reporting (sound-induced fission) of the flash numbers. Our study had three objectives: to examine the robustness of both illusions and to consider the effects of stimulus set and response bias. To this end, we used an extended range of fixed spatial location flash-tone pairings, examined stimuli that were variable in space and time and measured confidence in judging flash numbers. Our results indicated that the sound-induced flash illusion is a robust percept, a finding underpinned by the confidence measures. Sound-induced fusion was found to be more robust than sound-induced fission and a most likely outcome when high numbers of flashes were incorporated within an incongruent flash-tone pairing. Conversely, sound-induced fission was the most likely outcome for the flash-tone pairing which contained two flashes. Fission was also shown to be strongly driven by stimuli confounds such as categorical boundary conditions (e.g. flash-tone pairings with ≤2 flashes) and compressed response options. These findings suggest whilst both fission and fusion are associated with 'auditory driving', the differences in the occurrence and strength of the two illusions not only reflect the separate neuronal mechanisms underlying audio and visual signal processing, but also the test conditions that have been used to investigate the sound-induced flash illusion.Experimental Brain Research 04/2014; · 2.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In a go/no-go experiment, semantic redundancy gain was assessed for responses to single written words. Specifically, we asked participants to respond only to words whose meaning matched at least one semantic target feature-that is, the target category (e.g., animal), the target color (e.g., gray), or both. On redundant-target trials, the word (e.g., elephant) matched both semantic target features (i.e., gray and animal). On single-target trials, the word (e.g., beaver) matched one target feature (i.e., animal) and a nontarget feature (i.e., brown). We observed shorter reaction times in the redundant-target condition than in the faster single-target condition. Hence, the present study provides the first evidence that redundancy gain is not limited to responses to redundant proximal stimulus features but can also be observed for responses to semantic feature information.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 12/2012; · 2.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Perception routinely integrates inputs from different senses. Stimulus temporal proximity critically determines whether or not these inputs are bound together. Despite the temporal window of integration being a widely accepted notion, its neurophysiological substrate remains unclear. Many types of common audio-visual interactions occur within a time window of 100 ms [1–5]. For example, in the sound induced double-flash illusion, when two beeps are presented within 100 ms together with one flash, a second illusory flash is often perceived . Due to their intrinsic rhythmic nature, brain oscillations are one candidate mechanism for gating the temporal window of integration. Interestingly, occipital alpha band oscillations cycle on average every 100 ms, with peak frequencies ranging between 8 and 14 Hz (i.e., 120–60 ms cycle). Moreover, presenting a brief tone can phase-reset such oscillations in visual cortex [6,7]. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that the duration of each alpha cycle might provide the temporal unit to bind audio-visual events. Here, we first recorded EEG while participants performed the sound-induced double-flash illusion task  and found positive correlation between individual alpha frequency (IAF) peak and the size of the temporal window of the illusion. Participants then performed the same task while receiving occipital transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), to modulate oscillatory activity  either at their IAF or at off-peak alpha frequencies(IAF+/- 2Hz). Compared to IAF tACS, IAF-2 Hz and IAF+2 Hz tACS, respectively, enlarged and shrunk the temporal window of illusion, suggesting that alpha oscillations might represent the temporal unit of visual processing that cyclically gates perception and the neurophysiological substrate promoting audio-visual interactions.Current Biology. 12/2014; 7.