Investigating the effects of inversion on configural processing with an audiovisual temporal-order judgment task.
Vatakis A., Spence C.
Research has shown that inversion is more detrimental to the perception of faces than to the perception of other types of visual stimuli. Inverting a face results in an impairment of configural information processing that leads to slowed early face processing and reduced accuracy when performance is tested in face recognition tasks. We investigated the effects of inverting speech and non-speech stimuli on audiovisual temporal perception. Upright and inverted audiovisual video clips of a person uttering syllables (experiments 1 and 2), playing musical notes on a piano (experiment 3), or a rhesus monkey producing vocalisations (experiment 4) were presented. Participants made unspeeded temporal-order judgments regarding which modality stream (auditory or visual) appeared to have been presented first. Inverting the visual stream did not have any effect on the sensitivity of temporal discrimination responses in any of the four experiments, thus implying that audiovisual temporal integration is resilient to the effects of orientation in the picture plane. By contrast, the point of subjective simultaneity differed significantly as a function of orientation only for the audiovisual speech stimuli but not for the non-speech stimuli or monkey calls. That is, smaller auditory leads were required for the inverted than for the upright-visual speech stimuli. These results are consistent with the longer processing latencies reported previously when human faces are inverted and demonstrates that the temporal perception of dynamic audiovisual speech can be modulated by changes in the physical properties of the visual speech (ie by changes in orientation).