July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Vision vs. Hearing: Direct Comparison of the Human Contrast Sensitivity and Audibility Functions.
Author Affiliations
  • Russell J. Adams
    Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, Memorial University, St John's NL Canada.\nDiscipline of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St John's NL Canada.
  • Paul Sheppard
    Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, Memorial University, St John's NL Canada.
  • Avineet Cheema
    Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, Memorial University, St John's NL Canada.
  • Michele E. Mercer
    Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, Memorial University, St John's NL Canada.
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 870. doi:10.1167/13.9.870
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      Russell J. Adams, Paul Sheppard, Avineet Cheema, Michele E. Mercer; Vision vs. Hearing: Direct Comparison of the Human Contrast Sensitivity and Audibility Functions.. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):870. doi: 10.1167/13.9.870.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose: Among the five human senses, vision and hearing are considered to be the most sophisticated due to their substantial representation within the cortical regions of the central nervous system. Surprisingly, although there is some understanding of higher levels of bimodal perception, there has been little investigation of the relationship between the more fundamental aspects of human vision and hearing. Here we explore this issue by examining whether human adults show comparable thresholds across a broad spectrum of basic visual patterns and acoustic stimuli. Methods: Spatial contrast sensitivity (CS) was measured in 45 young adults (M = 23 y) with two sine wave-based tests of contrast sensitivity (FACT, Vector Vision) spanning a wide range of spatial frequencies (1.5 to 18 cy/deg). Optical correction was worn if necessary. In the same session, subjects underwent a complete binaural audiology exam (GSI 17 audiometer) which assessed pure tone thresholds from 250 to 8000 Hz. Individual subject data was also collected from 12 adults who were evaluated repeatedly with all tests over 10 additional sessions. Results: To evaluate the vision and hearing data more directly, contrast sensitivity functions for each subject were inverted to yield threshold functions which are more comparable to the threshold audibility functions obtained with the audiometer. Analyses revealed that although there were no relationships between individual visual and auditory frequencies, composite measures revealed that adults’ total CS across all SF correlated with total audibility values (p <0.05), especially among the adults tested repeatedly. Conclusions: The present results imply that human adults show a relationship between threshold levels of hearing and vision, at least in terms of the overall stimulus area defined by the CS and audibility functions. This finding suggests that for individual adults, there is some commonality in basic functioning between the two sensory systems with the human CNS.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

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