Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 233, Issue 1, pp 53–59 | Cite as

Rapid temporal recalibration is unique to audiovisual stimuli

  • Erik Van der BurgEmail author
  • Emily Orchard-Mills
  • David Alais
Research Article


Following prolonged exposure to asynchronous multisensory signals, the brain adapts to reduce the perceived asynchrony. Here, in three separate experiments, participants performed a synchrony judgment task on audiovisual, audiotactile or visuotactile stimuli and we used inter-trial analyses to examine whether temporal recalibration occurs rapidly on the basis of a single asynchronous trial. Even though all combinations used the same subjects, task and design, temporal recalibration occurred for audiovisual stimuli (i.e., the point of subjective simultaneity depended on the preceding trial’s modality order), but none occurred when the same auditory or visual event was combined with a tactile event. Contrary to findings from prolonged adaptation studies showing recalibration for all three combinations, we show that rapid, inter-trial recalibration is unique to audiovisual stimuli. We conclude that recalibration occurs at two different timescales for audiovisual stimuli (fast and slow), but only on a slow timescale for audiotactile and visuotactile stimuli.


Multisensory processing Recalibration Audition Vision Touch Synchrony judgment 


  1. Alais D, Burr D (2004) The ventriloquism effect results from near-optimal bimodal integration. Curr Biol 14:257–262PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alais D, Carlile S (2005) Synchronising to real events: subjective audiovisual alignment scales with perceived auditory depth and speed of sound. Proc of the National Academy of Science 102:2244–2247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd edn. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJGoogle Scholar
  4. Di Luca M, Machulla T, Ernst MO (2009) Recalibration of multisensory simultaneity: cross-modal transfer coincides with a change in perceptual latency. J Vis 9:7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fujisaki W, Shimojo S, Kashino M, Nishida S (2004) Recalibration of audiovisual simultaneity. Nat Neurosci 7:773–778PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hanson JVM, Heron J, Whitaker D (2008) Recalibration of perceived time across sensory modalities. Exp Brain Res 185:347–352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Harrar V, Harris LR (2008) The effect of exposure to asynchronous audio, visual, and tactile stimulus combinations on the perception of simultaneity. Exp Brain Res 186:517–524PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Keetels M, Vroomen J (2007) No effect of auditory–visual spatial disparity on temporal recalibration. Exp Brain Res 182:559–565PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Keetels M, Vroomen J (2008) Temporal recalibration to tactile–visual asynchronous stimuli. Neurosci Lett 430:130–134PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kösem A, Gramfort A, Van Wassenhove V (2014) Encoding of event timing in the phase of neural oscillations. NeuroImage 92:274–284PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Luo H, Liu Z, Poeppel D (2010) Auditory cortex tracks both auditory and visual stimulus dynamics using low-frequency neuronal phase modulation. PLoS Biol 8:e1000445PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Machulla T, Di Luca M, Froehlich E, Ernst MO (2012) Multisensory simultaneity recalibration: storage of the aftereffect in the absence of counterevidence. Exp Brain Res 217:89–97PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McGurk H, MacDonald J (1976) Hearing lips and seeing voices. Nature 264:746–748PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Morein-Zamir S, Soto-Faraco S, Kingstone A (2003) Auditory capture of vision: examining temporal ventriloquism. Cogn Brain Res 17:154–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Munhall KG, Gribble P, Sacco L, Ward M (1996) Temporal constraints on the McGurk effect. Percept Psychophys 58:351–362PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Navarra J, Soto-Faraco S, Spence C (2007) Adaptation to audiotactile asynchrony. Neurosci Lett 413:72–76PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Shams L, Kamitani Y, Shimojo S (2000) What you see is what you hear. Nature 408:788PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Slutsky DA, Recanzone GH (2001) Temporal and spatial dependency of the ventriloquism effect. NeuroReport 12:7–10PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sumby WH, Pollack I (1954) Visual contribution to speech intelligibility in noise. J Acoust Soc Am 26:212–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Takahashi K, Saiki J, Watanabe K (2008) Realignment of temporal simultaneity between vision and touch. NeuroReport 19:319–322PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Van der Burg E, Olivers CNL, Bronkhorst AW, Theeuwes J (2008) Pip and pop: non-spatial auditory signals improve spatial visual search. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 34:1053–1065PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Van der Burg E, Cass J, Olivers CNL, Theeuwes J, Alais D (2010) Efficient visual search from synchronized auditory signals requires transient audiovisual events. PLoS ONE 5:e10664PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Van der Burg E, Talsma D, Olivers CNL, Hickey C, Theeuwes J (2011) Early multisensory interactions affect the competition among multiple visual objects. NeuroImage 55:1208–1218PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Van der Burg E, Alais D, Cass J (2013) Rapid recalibration to asynchronous audiovisual stimuli. J Neurosci 33:14633–14637PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Van der Burg E, Cass J, Alais D (2014) Window of audio–visual simultaneity is unaffected by spatio-temporal visual clutter. Scientific Reports 4:5098PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. van Eijk RLJ, Kohlraush A, Juola JE, van der Par S (2008) Audiovisual synchrony and temporal order judgments: effects of experimental method and stimulus type. Percept Psychophys 70:955–968PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. van Eijk RLJ, Kohlraush A, Juola JF, van der Par S (2010) Temporal order judgment criteria are affected by synchrony judgment sensitivity. Atten Percept Psychophys 72:2227–2235PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Van Wassenhove V, Grant KW, Poeppel D (2007) Temporal window of integration in auditory–visual speech perception. Neuropsychologia 45:598–607PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vroomen J, Keetels M, De Gelder B, Bertelson P (2004) Recalibration of temporal order perception by exposure to audio–visual asynchrony. Cogn Brain Res 22:32–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Yarrow K, Roseboom W, Arnold D (2011) Spatial grouping resolves ambiguity to drive temporal recalibration. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 37:1657–1661PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Van der Burg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily Orchard-Mills
    • 1
  • David Alais
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations