Paper in Scientific Reports
  • Van Der Burg, E., Alais, D., Cass, J. (2015). Audiovisual temporal recalibration occurs independently at two different time scales. Scientific Reports, 5, art. no. 14526.

    Combining signals across the senses improves precision and speed of perception, although this multisensory benefit declines for asynchronous signals. Multisensory events may produce synchronized stimuli at source but asynchronies inevitably arise due to distance, intensity, attention and neural latencies. Temporal recalibration is an adaptive phenomenon that serves to perceptually realign physically asynchronous signals. Recently, it was discovered that temporal recalibration occurs far more rapidly than previously thought and does not require minutes of adaptation. Using a classical audiovisual simultaneity task and a series of brief flashes and tones varying in onset asynchrony, perceived simultaneity on a given trial was found to shift in the direction of the preceding trial's asynchrony. Here we examine whether this inter-trial recalibration reflects the same process as prolonged adaptation by combining both paradigms: participants adapted to a fixed temporal lag for several minutes followed by a rapid series of test trials requiring a synchrony judgment. Interestingly, we find evidence of recalibration from prolonged adaptation and inter-trial recalibration within a single experiment. We show a dissociation in which sustained adaptation produces a large but decaying recalibration effect whilst inter-trial recalibration produces large transient effects whose sign matches that of the previous trial.