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Distinct mechanisms govern recalibration to audio-visual discrepancies in remote and recent history

Watson, David M.; Akeroyd, Michael A.; Roach, Neil W.; Webb, Ben S.

Distinct mechanisms govern recalibration to audio-visual discrepancies in remote and recent history Thumbnail


David M. Watson

Professor of Vision Science

Ben S. Webb


To maintain perceptual coherence, the brain corrects for discrepancies between the senses. If, for example, lights are consistently offset from sounds, representations of auditory space are remapped to reduce this error (spatial recalibration). While recalibration effects have been observed following both brief and prolonged periods of adaptation, the relative contribution of discrepancies occurring over these timescales is unknown. Here we show that distinct multisensory recalibration mechanisms operate in remote and recent history. To characterise the dynamics of this spatial recalibration, we adapted human participants to audio-visual discrepancies for different durations, from 32 to 256 seconds, and measured the aftereffects on perceived auditory location. Recalibration effects saturated rapidly but decayed slowly, suggesting a combination of transient and sustained adaptation mechanisms. When long-term adaptation to an audio-visual discrepancy was immediately followed by a brief period of de-adaptation to an opposing discrepancy, recalibration was initially cancelled but subsequently reappeared with further testing. These dynamics were best fit by a multiple-exponential model that monitored audio-visual discrepancies over distinct timescales. Recent and remote recalibration mechanisms enable the brain to balance rapid adaptive changes to transient discrepancies that should be quickly forgotten against slower adaptive changes to persistent discrepancies likely to be more permanent.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 28, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 11, 2019
Publication Date 2019-12
Deposit Date Jun 13, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 13, 2019
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 1475-3588
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Article Number 8513
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 2 August 2018; Accepted: 28 May 2019; First Online: 11 June 2019; : The authors declare no competing interests.


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