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In Vision research ; h5-index 38.0

Perceiving simultaneity is critical in integrating visual and auditory signals that give rise to a unified perception. We examined whether background color modulates people's perception of audiovisual simultaneity. Two hypotheses were proposed and examined: (1) the red-impairment hypothesis: visual processing speed deteriorates when viewing a red background because the magnocellular system is inhibited by red light; and (2) the blue-enhancement hypothesis: the detection of both visual and auditory signals is enhanced when viewing a blue background because it stimulates the blue-light sensitive intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), which trigger a higher alert state. Participants were exposed to different backgrounds while performing an audiovisual simultaneity judgment (SJ) task: a flash and a beep were presented at pre-designated stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) and participants judged whether or not the two stimuli were presented simultaneously. Experiment 1 demonstrated a shift of the point of subjective simultaneity (PSS) toward the visual-leading condition in the red compared to the blue background when the flash was presented in the periphery. In Experiment 2, the stimulation of ipRGCs was specifically manipulated to test the blue-enhancement hypothesis. The results showed no support for this hypothesis, perhaps due to top-down cortical modulations. Taken together, the shift of PSS toward the visual-leading condition in the red background was attributed to impaired visual processing speed with respect to auditory processing speed, caused by the inhibition of the magnocellular system under red light.

Chien Sung-En, Chen Yi-Chuan, Matsumoto Akiko, Yamashita Wakayo, Shih Kuaug-Tsu, Tsujimura Sei-Ichi, Yeh Su-Ling


Blue light, Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC), Magnocellular system, Red light, Simultaneity judgment task