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Human trimodal perception follows optimal statistical inference

Wozny, David R. and Beierholm, Ulrik R. and Shams, Ladan (2008) Human trimodal perception follows optimal statistical inference. Journal of Vision, 8 (8). Art. No. 24. ISSN 1534-7362. doi:10.1167/8.3.24.

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Our nervous system typically processes signals from multiple sensory modalities at any given moment and is therefore posed with two important problems: which of the signals are caused by a common event, and how to combine those signals. We investigated human perception in the presence of auditory, visual, and tactile stimulation in a numerosity judgment task. Observers were presented with stimuli in one, two, or three modalities simultaneously and were asked to report their percepts in each modality. The degree of congruency between the modalities varied across trials. For example, a single flash was paired in some trials with two beeps and two taps. Cross-modal illusions were observed in most conditions in which there was incongruence among the two or three stimuli, revealing robust interactions among the three modalities in all directions. The observers' bimodal and trimodal percepts were remarkably consistent with a Bayes-optimal strategy of combining the evidence in each modality with the prior probability of the events. These findings provide evidence that the combination of sensory information among three modalities follows optimal statistical inference for the entire spectrum of conditions.

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Additional Information:© 2008 ARVO. Received August 24, 2007; published March 27, 2008. We thank Konrad Kording for his valuable contribution to the development of the model, the insightful discussions, and the helpful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by a UCLA Academic Senate Grant and a Faculty Career Development Grant to LS. DW was supported by an NSF IGERT training grant (DGE 9972802) and a UCLA Graduate Division fellowship. UB was supported by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation as well as by the Moore Foundation. Commercial relationships: none.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-9972802
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:multisensory integration, cross modal, Bayesian inference, ideal observer, cross-modal illusion, trimodal perception, causal inference
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:WOZjov08
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Official Citation:Wozny, D. R., Beierholm, U. R., & Shams, L. (2008). Human trimodal perception follows optimal statistical inference. Journal of Vision, 8(3):24, 1-11,, doi:10.1167/8.3.24.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10772
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:09 Jun 2008
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 21:10

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