Auditory and visual attention-based apparent motion share functional parallels
A perception of coherent motion can be obtained in an otherwise ambiguous or illusory visual display by directing one's attention to a feature and tracking it. We demonstrate an analogous auditory effect in two separate sets of experiments. The temporal dynamics associated with the attention-dependent auditory motion closely matched those previously reported for attention-based visual motion. Since attention-based motion mechanisms appear to exist in both modalities, we also tested for multimodal (audiovisual) attention-based motion, using stimuli composed of interleaved visual and auditory cues. Although subjects were able to track a trajectory using cues from both modalities, no one spontaneously perceived (“multimodal motion”) across both visual and auditory cues. Rather, they reported motion perception only within each modality, thereby revealing a spatiotemporal limit on putative cross-modal motion integration. Together, results from these experiments demonstrate the existence of attention-based motion in audition, extending current theories of attention-based mechanisms from visual to auditory systems.
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