Visual motion disambiguation by a subliminal sound

Consciousness and Cognition 17 (3):790-797 (2008)

There is growing interest in the effect of sound on visual motion perception. One model involves the illusion created when two identical objects moving towards each other on a two-dimensional visual display can be seen to either bounce off or stream through each other. Previous studies show that the large bias normally seen toward the streaming percept can be modulated by the presentation of an auditory event at the moment of coincidence. However, no reports to date provide sufficient evidence to indicate whether the sound bounce-inducing effect is due to a perceptual binding process or merely to an explicit inference resulting from the transient auditory stimulus resembling a physical collision of two objects. In the present study, we used a novel experimental design in which a subliminal sound was presented either 150 ms before, at, or 150 ms after the moment of coincidence of two disks moving towards each other. The results showed that there was an increased perception of bouncing when the subliminal sound was presented at or 150 ms after the moment of coincidence compared to when no sound was presented. These findings provide the first empirical demonstration that activation of the human auditory system without reaching consciousness affects the perception of an ambiguous visual motion display
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DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2007.09.001
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Priming with and Without Awareness.J. Cheesman & Philip M. Merikle - 1984 - Perception and Psychophysics 36:387-95.
Replicable Unconscious Semantic Priming.Sean Draine & Anthony G. Greenwald - 1998 - Journal Of Experimental Psychology-General 127 (3):286-303.

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