Author(s): Roseboom W, Linares D, Nishida S
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Recent sensory experience modifies subjective timing perception. For example, when visual events repeatedly lead auditory events, such as when the sound and video tracks of a movie are out of sync, subsequent vision-leads-audio presentations are reported as more simultaneous. This phenomenon could provide insights into the fundamental problem of how timing is represented in the brain, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we show that the effect of recent experience on timing perception is not just subjective; recent sensory experience also modifies relative timing discrimination. This result indicates that recent sensory history alters the encoding of relative timing in sensory areas, excluding explanations of the subjective phenomenon based only on decision-level changes. The pattern of changes in timing discrimination suggests the existence of two sensory components, similar to those previously reported for visual spatial attributes: a lateral shift in the nonlinear transducer that maps relative timing into perceptual relative timing and an increase in transducer slope around the exposed timing. The existence of these components would suggest that previous explanations of how recent experience may change the sensory encoding of timing, such as changes in sensory latencies or simple implementations of neural population codes, cannot account for the effect of sensory adaptation on timing perception.
This article was published in Proc Biol Sci
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research