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Perception of multimodal events

WorkgroupRealistic Depictions
FundingBudget resources
Project description

Multimodal information is capable of changing the perception and interpretation of visual events. For instance, a display that is perceived as two discs streaming past each other when presented in isolation switches to two discs bouncing of each other when a tone or a tactile stimulus coincides with the visual event. The theoretical explanation behind this phenomenon is controversial; cognitive (e.g. inferences) as well as perceptual explanations have been proposed within the literature.

In the project perception of multimodal events, we investigated whether coinciding multimodal information indeed biases early visual perception; and whether these biases are capable of explaining subsequent changes in the visual impression. Our results showed that multimodal events elicited illusory misperceptions regarding the spatial relations between individual objects. As these illusory percepts arise from physical properties of the coinciding information rather than their semantic category, these findings argue in favor of perceptual explanations.


Prof. Dr. Brian Scholl, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
Prof. Dr. Satoru Suzuki, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
Prof. Dr. Christian Frings, Universität Trier, Germany


Meyerhoff, H. S., & Scholl, B. J. (2018). Auditory-induced bouncing is a perceptual (rather than a cognitive) phenomenon: Evidence from illusory crescents. Cognition, 170, 88-94.

Meyerhoff, H. S., Merz, S., & Frings, C. (2018). Tactile stimulation disambiguates the perception of visual motion paths. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25, 2231-2237. [Data]

Meyerhoff, H.S., & Suzuki, S. (2018). Beep, be-, or –ep: The impact of auditory transients on perceived bouncing/streaming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44(12), 1995-2004. [Data] request document