Rate after-effects fail to transfer cross-modally: evidence for distributed sensory timing mechanisms

Motola, Aysha and Heron, James and McGraw, Paul V. and Roach, Neil W. and Whitaker, David (2018) Rate after-effects fail to transfer cross-modally: evidence for distributed sensory timing mechanisms. Scientific Reports, 8 . 924/1-924/10. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Accurate time perception is critical for a number of human behaviours, such as understanding speech and the appreciation of music. However, it remains unresolved whether sensory time perception is mediated by a central timing component regulating all senses, or by a set of distributed mechanisms, each dedicated to a single sensory modality and operating in a largely independent manner. To address this issue, we conducted a range of unimodal and cross-modal rate adaptation experiments, in order to establish the degree of specificity of classical after- effects of sensory adaptation. Adapting to a fast rate of sensory stimulation typically makes a moderate rate appear slower (repulsive after-effect), and vice versa. A central timing hypothesis predicts general transfer of adaptation effects across modalities, whilst distributed mechanisms predict a high degree of sensory selectivity. Rate perception was quantified by a method of temporal reproduction across all combinations of visual, auditory and tactile senses. Robust repulsive after-effects were observed in all unimodal rate conditions, but were not observed for any cross-modal pairings. Our results show that sensory timing abilities are adaptable but, crucially, that this change is modality-specific - an outcome that is consistent with a distributed sensory timing hypothesis.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Human behavior; Sensory processing
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Identification Number: 10.1038/s41598-018-19218-z
Depositing User: Roach, Neil
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2018 09:19
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2018 12:48
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/49182

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