Our senses of sight and hearing work closely together, perhaps more than people realize, a new UCLA psychology study shows.
“If we think of the perceptual system as a democracy where each sense is like a person casting a vote and all votes are counted to reach a decision — although not all votes are counted equally — what our study shows is that the voters talk to one another and influence one another even before each casts a vote,” said Ladan Shams, a UCLA associate professor of psychology and the senior author of the new study.
In the study of how one sense can affect another, Shams, an expert on perception and cognitive neuroscience, and her colleagues showed 63 participants a large number of dots on a screen in two separate phases, with a break between the phases. In one phase, the dots moved around randomly; in the other, some of the dots moved together from right to left. In both phases, the dots were accompanied by sound.