Experimental Brain Research

, 198:49 | Cite as

Auditory dominance over vision in the perception of interval duration

  • David Burr
  • Martin S. Banks
  • Maria Concetta Morrone
Research Article


The “ventriloquist effect” refers to the fact that vision usually dominates hearing in spatial localization, and this has been shown to be consistent with optimal integration of visual and auditory signals (Alais and Burr in Curr Biol 14(3):257–262, 2004). For temporal localization, however, auditory stimuli often “capture” visual stimuli, in what has become known as “temporal ventriloquism”. We examined this quantitatively using a bisection task, confirming that sound does tend to dominate the perceived timing of audio-visual stimuli. The dominance was predicted qualitatively by considering the better temporal localization of audition, but the quantitative fit was less than perfect, with more weight being given to audition than predicted from thresholds. As predicted by optimal cue combination, the temporal localization of audio-visual stimuli was better than for either sense alone.


Time perception Vision Audition Multi-modal perception 



This research was supported by the Italian Ministry of Universities and Research, EC projects “MEMORY” (FP6-NEST) and “STANIB” (FP7 ERC) and US NIH Research Grant EY-R01-08266 to MSB.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Burr
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin S. Banks
    • 3
  • Maria Concetta Morrone
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversità Degli Studi di FirenzeFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia
  3. 3.Vision Science Program, Department of Psychology, School of OptometryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Department of Human Physiological SciencesUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  5. 5.Scientific Institute Stella MarisPisaItaly

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