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Suboptimal human multisensory cue combination

Arnold, Derek H.; Petrie, Kirstie; Murray, Cailem; Johnston, Alan


Derek H. Arnold

Kirstie Petrie

Cailem Murray


Information from different sensory modalities can interact, shaping what we think we have seen, heard, or otherwise perceived. Such interactions can enhance the precision of perceptual decisions, relative to those based on information from a single sensory modality. Several computational processes could account for such improvements. Slight improvements could arise if decisions are based on multiple independent sensory estimates, as opposed to just one. Still greater improvements could arise if initially independent estimates are summed to form a single integrated code. This hypothetical process has often been described as optimal when it results in bimodal performance consistent with a summation of unimodal estimates weighted in proportion to the precision of each initially independent sensory code. Here we examine cross-modal cue combination for audio-visual temporal rate and spatial location cues. While suggestive of a cross-modal encoding advantage, the degree of facilitation falls short of that predicted by a precision weighted summation process. These data accord with other published observations, and suggest that precision weighted combination is not a general property of human cross-modal perception.


Arnold, D. H., Petrie, K., Murray, C., & Johnston, A. (2019). Suboptimal human multisensory cue combination. Scientific Reports, 9(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 5, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 26, 2019
Publication Date 2019-12
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 29, 2019
Journal Scientific Reports
Print ISSN 2045-2322
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Article Number 5155
Keywords Multidisciplinary
Public URL
Publisher URL


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