Visual illusion induced by sound

Cognitive Brain Research 14 (2002) 147-152.
L. Shams, Y. Kamitani, S. Shimojo


We present the first cross-modal modification of visual perception which involves a phenomenological change in the quality-as opposed to a small, gradual, or quantitative change-of the percept of a non-ambiguous visual stimulus. We report a visual illusion which is induced by sound: when a single flash of light is accompanied by multiple auditory beeps, the single flash is perceived as multiple flashes. We present two experiments as well as several observations which establish that this alteration of the visual percept is due to cross-modal perceptual interactions as opposed to cognitive, attentional, or other origins. The results of the second experiment also reveal that the temporal window of these audio-visual interactions is approximately 100 ms.

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