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Michael Schutz and Laura Silverman (2011)

The role of attention in audio-visual integration

Canadian Acoustics, 39(3):108-109.

When listening to a person speak, our perceptual system effortlessly integrates the sounds detected by our ears with the gestures and lip movements seen by our eyes, giving rise to the experience of a unified event. However, this illusion o f unity is in fact the end-result of a complex process integrating disparate information. The dominant theory for explaining this process is known as optimal integration - predicting that sensory information is weighted in proportion to its quality (Ernst & Banks, 2004). Given the superior temporal acuity of the auditory system, audition generally dominates when resolving conflicts in timing - such as judging event duration (Alais et al., 2010).

Audio-visual integration, attention, auditory system