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Santani Teng, David Whitney; The auditory flash-drag effect: Distortion of auditory space by visual motion. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):794. doi: 10.1167/11.11.794.
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A brief visual flash presented in the presence of visual motion is displaced in the direction of motion (Whitney and Cavanagh, 2000). The mechanisms mediating this flash-drag effect remain unknown. Here we investigated whether the effect extends cross-modally to surrounding auditory space. In a 2AFC method of constant stimuli task, observers judged the laterality of brief auditory bursts presented from one of six closely spaced azimuthal speaker positions while viewing a full-field sinusoidal grating translating horizontally. The grating did not overlap spatially with the speaker positions. We found that reported auditory positions were skewed in the direction of visual motion. Unlike other spatial cross-modal effects such as the ventriloquism effect, or its aftereffect, there was no manipulation of visual stimulus location, only a manipulation of visual motion within a constant location. Further, there is no ‘fusion,’ ‘grouping,’ or ‘binding’ of a visual and auditory object in this case; the location of the background motion was non-overlapping and was never confused with the location or identity of the auditory burst. Our results demonstrate a cross-modal flash-drag effect and suggest a shared influence of motion on visual as well as auditory spatial representations.
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