Advantage of audition over vision in a perceptual timing task but not in a sensorimotor timing task

  • Li Gu
  • Yingyu Huang
  • Xiang WuEmail author
Original Article


Timing is essential for various behaviors and relative to vision, audition is considered to be specialized for temporal processing. The present study conducted a sensorimotor timing task that required tapping in synchrony with a temporally regular sequence and a perceptual timing task that required detecting a timing deviation among a temporally regular sequence. The sequence was composed of auditory tones, visual flashes, or a visual bouncing ball. In the sensorimotor task, sensorimotor timing performance (synchronization stability) of the bouncing ball was much greater than that of flashes and was comparable to that of tones. In the perceptual task, where perceptual timing performance of the bouncing ball was greater than that of flashes, it was poorer than that of tones. These results suggest the facilitation of both perceptual and sensorimotor processing of temporal information by the bouncing ball. Given such facilitation of temporal processing, however, audition is still superior over vision in perceptual detection of timing.



This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31371129) and Research Project of Sun Yat-Sen University (26000-31620003).

Author contributions

GL, HYY, and WX designed the research; GL and HYY performed the research and analyzed the data; and WX wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.

Data availability

The data generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Supplementary material

426_2019_1204_MOESM1_ESM.doc (726 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 726 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Zhongshan Ophthalmic CenterSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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