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Influences of selective adaptation on perception of audiovisual speech


Research suggests that selective adaptation in speech is a low-level process dependent on sensory-specific information shared between the adaptor and test-stimuli. However, previous research has only examined how adaptors shift perception of unimodal test stimuli, either auditory or visual. In the current series of experiments, we investigated whether adaptation to cross-sensory phonetic information can influence perception of integrated audio-visual phonetic information. We examined how selective adaptation to audio and visual adaptors shift perception of speech along an audiovisual test continuum. This test-continuum consisted of nine audio-/ba/-visual-/va/ stimuli, ranging in visual clarity of the mouth. When the mouth was clearly visible, perceivers "heard" the audio-visual stimulus as an integrated "va" percept 93.7% of the time (e.g., McGurk & MacDonald, 1976). As visibility of the mouth became less clear across the nine-item continuum, the audio-visual "va" percept weakened, resulting in a continuum ranging in audio-visual percepts from /va/ to /ba/. Perception of the test-stimuli was tested before and after adaptation. Changes in audiovisual speech perception were observed following adaptation to visual-/va/ and audiovisual-/va/, but not following adaptation to auditory-/va/, auditory-/ba/, or visual-/ba/. Adaptation modulates perception of integrated audio-visual speech by modulating the processing of sensory-specific information. The results suggest that auditory and visual speech information are not completely integrated at the level of selective adaptation.

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