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Individual Differences in Multisensory Interactions:The Influence of Temporal Phase Coherence and Auditory Salience on Visual Contrast Sensitivity

1
Department of Psychology, Developmental and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125, USA
2
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, V5Z 3N9, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Vision 2020, 4(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/vision4010012
Received: 18 October 2019 / Revised: 21 January 2020 / Accepted: 30 January 2020 / Published: 5 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multisensory Modulation of Vision)
: While previous research has investigated key factors contributing to multisensory integration in isolation, relatively little is known regarding how these factors interact, especially when considering the enhancement of visual contrast sensitivity by a task-irrelevant sound. Here we explored how auditory stimulus properties, namely salience and temporal phase coherence in relation to the visual target, jointly affect the extent to which a sound can enhance visual contrast sensitivity. Visual contrast sensitivity was measured by a psychophysical task, where human adult participants reported the location of a visual Gabor pattern presented at various contrast levels. We expected the most enhanced contrast sensitivity, the lowest contrast threshold, when the visual stimulus was accompanied by a task-irrelevant sound, weak in auditory salience, modulated in-phase with the visual stimulus (strong temporal phase coherence). Our expectations were confirmed, but only if we accounted for individual differences in optimal auditory salience level to induce maximal multisensory enhancement effects. Our findings highlight the importance of interactions between temporal phase coherence and stimulus effectiveness in determining the strength of multisensory enhancement of visual contrast as well as highlighting the importance of accounting for individual differences.
Keywords: multisensory perception; visual contrast; phase coherence; temporal coincidence; stimulus effectiveness multisensory perception; visual contrast; phase coherence; temporal coincidence; stimulus effectiveness
MDPI and ACS Style

Chow, H.M.; Leviyah, X.; Ciaramitaro, V.M. Individual Differences in Multisensory Interactions:The Influence of Temporal Phase Coherence and Auditory Salience on Visual Contrast Sensitivity. Vision 2020, 4, 12.

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