Melodic sound enhances visual awareness of congruent musical notes, but only if you can read music

Predictive influences of auditory information on resolution of visual competition were investigated using music, whose visual symbolic notation is familiar only to those with musical training. Results from two experiments using different experimental paradigms revealed that melodic congruence between what is seen and what is heard impacts perceptual dynamics during binocular rivalry. This bisensory interaction was observed only when the musical score was perceptually dominant, not when it was suppressed from awareness, and it was observed only in people who could read music. Results from two ancillary experiments showed that this effect of congruence cannot be explained by differential patterns of eye movements or by differential response sluggishness associated with congruent score/melody combinations. Taken together, these results demonstrate robust audiovisual interaction based on high-level, symbolic representations and its predictive influence on perceptual dynamics during binocular rivalry.

PNAS-2015-Lee-8493-8

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/27/8493.full.pdf

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