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June 07, 2021 Monday 11:14:18 AM IST

Brain Syncs Hearing with Vision

Teacher Insights

How does the brain account for the difference between the speed of sound and light? McGill University researchers discovered that the brain allows us to make better sense of our world by playing tricks so that a visual and a sound created at the same time are perceived as synchronous, even though they reach the brain and are processed by neural circuits at different speeds. Volunteers were told to view short flashes of light paired with sounds with a variety of delays and asked to report whether they thought both happened at the same time. The volunteers’ perception of simultaneity between the audio and visual stimuli in a pair was strongly affected by the perceived simultaneity of the stimulus pair before it. For eg., if presented with a sound followed by visual milliseconds apart and perceived as asynchronous, one is much more likely to report the next audio-visual stimulus pair as synchronous, even when it’s not. Our brains constantly absorb and adapt to the bombardment of sensory information from diverse sources.

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