ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201910.0247.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Behavior Sciences Keywords: visual contrast; perceived relative object depth; 2D images; sound frequency; two alternative forced-choice; response times; high-probability decision; readiness to respond; probability summation
Online: 22 October 2019 (03:34:45 CEST)
Pieron's and Chocholle’s seminal psychophysical work predicts that human response time to information relative to visual contrast and/or sound frequency decreases when contrast intensity or sound frequency increases. The goal of this study is to bring to the fore the ability of individuals to use visual contrast intensity and sound frequency in combination for faster perceptual decisions of relative depth (“nearer”) in planar (2D) object configurations on the basis of physical variations in luminance contrast. Computer controlled images with two abstract patterns of varying contrast intensity, one on the left and one on the right, preceded or not by a pure tone of varying frequency, were shown to healthy young humans in controlled experimental sequences. Their task (two-alternative forced-choice) was to decide as quickly as possible which of two patterns, the left or the right one, in a given image appeared to “stand out as if it were nearer” in terms of apparent (subjective) visual depth. The results show that the combinations of varying relative visual contrast with sounds of varying frequency exploited here produced an additive effect on choice response times in terms of facilitation, where a stronger visual contrast combined with a higher sound frequency produced shorter forced-choice response times. This new effect is predicted by cross-modal audio-visual probability summation.