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Hysteresis in Audiovisual Synchrony Perception

Martin, J.-R., Kösem, A., & van Wassenhove, V. (2015). Hysteresis in Audiovisual Synchrony Perception. PLoS One, 10(3): e0119365. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119365.
The effect of stimulation history on the perception of a current event can yield two opposite effects, namely: adaptation or hysteresis. The perception of the current event thus goes in the opposite or in the same direction as prior stimulation, respectively. In audiovisual (AV) synchrony perception, adaptation effects have primarily been reported. Here, we tested if perceptual hysteresis could also be observed over adaptation in AV timing perception by varying different experimental conditions. Participants were asked to judge the synchrony of the last (test) stimulus of an AV sequence with either constant or gradually changing AV intervals (constant and dynamic condition, respectively). The onset timing of the test stimulus could be cued or not (prospective vs. retrospective condition, respectively). We observed hysteretic effects for AV synchrony judgments in the retrospective condition that were independent of the constant or dynamic nature of the adapted stimuli; these effects disappeared in the prospective condition. The present findings suggest that knowing when to estimate a stimulus property has a crucial impact on perceptual simultaneity judgments. Our results extend beyond AV timing perception, and have strong implications regarding the comparative study of hysteresis and adaptation phenomena.
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

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