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Combining Visual Contrast Information with Sound Can Produce Faster Decisions

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR 7357 ICube Lab, Strasbourg University, 67000 Strasbourg, France
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Information 2019, 10(11), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/info10110346
Received: 20 October 2019 / Revised: 4 November 2019 / Accepted: 5 November 2019 / Published: 7 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information-Centred Approaches to Visual Perception)
Pieron’s and Chocholle’s seminal psychophysical work predicts that human response time to information relative to visual contrast and/or sound frequency decreases when contrast intensity or sound frequency increases. The goal of this study is to bring to the forefront the ability of individuals to use visual contrast intensity and sound frequency in combination for faster perceptual decisions of relative depth (“nearer”) in planar (2D) object configurations based on physical variations in luminance contrast. Computer controlled images with two abstract patterns of varying contrast intensity, one on the left and one on the right, preceded or not by a pure tone of varying frequency, were shown to healthy young humans in controlled experimental sequences. Their task (two-alternative, forced-choice) was to decide as quickly as possible which of two patterns, the left or the right one, in a given image appeared to “stand out as if it were nearer” in terms of apparent (subjective) visual depth. The results showed that the combinations of varying relative visual contrast with sounds of varying frequency exploited here produced an additive effect on choice response times in terms of facilitation, where a stronger visual contrast combined with a higher sound frequency produced shorter forced-choice response times. This new effect is predicted by audio-visual probability summation. View Full-Text
Keywords: visual contrast; perceived relative object depth; 2D images; sound frequency; two-alternative forced-choice; response times; high-probability decision; readiness to respond; probability summation visual contrast; perceived relative object depth; 2D images; sound frequency; two-alternative forced-choice; response times; high-probability decision; readiness to respond; probability summation
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Dresp-Langley, B.; Monfouga, M. Combining Visual Contrast Information with Sound Can Produce Faster Decisions. Information 2019, 10, 346.

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