Visual body form and orientation cues do not modulate visuo-tactile temporal integration

Sophie Smit*, Anina N. Rich, Regine Zopf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Body ownership relies on spatiotemporal correlations between multisensory signals and visual cues specifying oneself such as body form and orientation. The mechanism for the integration of bodily signals remains unclear. One approach to model multisensory integration that has been influential in the multisensory literature is Bayesian causal inference. This specifies that the brain integrates spatial and temporal signals coming from different modalities when it infers a common cause for inputs. As an example, the rubber hand illusion shows that visual form and orientation cues can promote the inference of a common cause (one’s body) leading to spatial integration shown by a proprioceptive drift of the perceived location of the real hand towards the rubber hand. Recent studies investigating the effect of visual cues on temporal integration, however, have led to conflicting findings. These could be due to task differences, variation in ecological validity of stimuli and/or small samples. In this pre-registered study, we investigated the influence of visual information on temporal integration using a visuo-tactile temporal order judgement task with realistic stimuli and a sufficiently large sample determined by Bayesian analysis. Participants viewed videos of a touch being applied to plausible or implausible visual stimuli for one’s hand (hand oriented plausibly, hand rotated 180 degrees, or a sponge) while also being touched at varying stimulus onset asynchronies. Participants judged which stimulus came first: viewed or felt touch. Results show that visual cues do not modulate visuo-tactile temporal order judgements. This is not in line with the idea that bodily signals indicating oneself influence the integration of multisensory signals in the temporal domain. The current study emphasises the importance of rigour in our methodologies and analyses to advance the understanding of how properties of multisensory events affect the encoding of temporal information in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0224174
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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