Why are sight and sound out of sync?

ScienceDaily | 6/11/2018 | Staff
urbanpatrioturbanpatriot (Posted by) Level 4
When investigating the effect the researchers found that speech comprehension can sometimes actually improve by as much as 10 per cent when sound is delayed relative to vision, and that different individuals consistently have uniquely different optimal delays for different tasks.

As a result, the authors suggest that by tailoring sound delays on an individual basis via a hearing aid or cochlear implant -- or a setting on a computer media player -- could have significant benefits for speech comprehension and enjoyment of multimedia. The study is published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

Researchers - City - Phenomenon - Pattern - Tasks

When the researchers at City looked deeper into this phenomenon, they kept finding a very curious pattern: different tasks benefitted from opposite delays, even in the same person. For example, the more an individual's vision lags their audition in the performance of one task (e.g., identifying speech sounds), conversely the more their audition is likely to lag vision in other tasks (e.g., deciding whether lips followed or preceded the speaker's voice). This finding provides new insight into how we determine when events actually occur in the world and the nature of perceptual timing in the brain.

When we see and hear a person speak, sensory signals travel via different pathways from our eyes and ears through the brain. The audiovisual asychronies measured in this study may occur because these sensory signals arrive at their different destinations in the brain at different times.

Speech - Events - World - Brain - Way

Yet how then do we ever know when the physical speech events actually happened in the world? The brain must have a way to solve this problem, given that we can still judge whether or not the original events are in sync with reasonable accuracy. For example, we are often able to easily identify when films have poor lip-sync.

Lead author Dr Elliot Freeman, Senior Lecturer...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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