Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 185, Issue 2, pp 347–352 | Cite as

Recalibration of perceived time across sensory modalities

  • James V. M. Hanson
  • James Heron
  • David Whitaker
Research Note


When formulating an estimate of event time, the human sensory system has been shown to possess a degree of perceptual flexibility. Specifically, the perceived relative timing of auditory and visual stimuli is, to some extent, a product of recent experience. It has been suggested that this form of sensory recalibration may be peculiar to the audiovisual domain. Here we investigate how adaptation to sensory asynchrony influences the perceived temporal order of audiovisual, audiotactile and visuotactile stimulus pairs. Our data show that a brief period of repeated exposure to asynchrony in any of these sensory pairings results in marked changes in subsequent temporal order judgments: the point of perceived simultaneity shifts toward the level of adaptation asynchrony. We find that the size and nature of this shift is very similar in all three pairings and that sensitivity to asynchrony is unaffected by the adaptation process. In light of these findings we suggest that a single supramodal mechanism may be responsible for the observed recalibration of multisensory perceived time.


Temporal order judgment Adaptation Psychophysics Multisensory processing Perceived timing 



D.W. was supported by a Research Fellowship from The Leverhulme Trust.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • James V. M. Hanson
    • 1
  • James Heron
    • 1
  • David Whitaker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OptometryUniversity of BradfordBradfordUK

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