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Jean Vroomen, Mirjam Keetels; A sound can change four-dot masking. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):174. doi: 10.1167/8.6.174.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: A sound can temporally attract the perceived occurrence of a flash (temporal ventriloquism). Typically, this has been demonstrated in a visual temporal order judgement (TOJ) task where sensitivity about the order of two visual events (which came first?) is improved when the flashes are flanked by two task-irrelevant sounds. Here, we tested the generality of this finding by studying the consequences of irrelevant sounds in a visual task not involving explicit temporal order judgments. Methods: A four-dot masking paradigm was used in which perception of a briefly displayed visual target is impaired if followed by four dots arranged in a square (mask). The amount of masking depends on the relative timing (SOA) between the target and the mask. We compared the masking function of a silent condition with ones in which one or two sounds were presented either before, at, or after the target and/or mask. Results: Sounds presented ∼100 ms before the target improved visual discrimination of the target if compared to the silent condition. Conclusions: Temporal ventriloquism and/or general alerting effects by the sounds could be demonstrated in a task where visual temporal order is irrelevant.
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