Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 231, Issue 1, pp 117–126 | Cite as

Effect of pitch–space correspondence on sound-induced visual motion perception

  • Souta HidakaEmail author
  • Wataru Teramoto
  • Mirjam Keetels
  • Jean Vroomen
Research Article


The brain tends to associate specific features of stimuli across sensory modalities. The pitch of a sound is for example associated with spatial elevation such that higher-pitched sounds are felt as being “up” in space and lower-pitched sounds as being “down.” Here we investigated whether changes in the pitch of sounds could be effective for visual motion perception similar to those in the location of sounds. We demonstrated that only sounds that alternate in up/down location induced illusory vertical motion of a static visual stimulus, while sounds that alternate in higher/lower pitch did not induce this illusion. The pitch of a sound did not even modulate the visual motion perception induced by sounds alternating in up/down location. Interestingly, though, sounds alternating in higher/lower pitch could become a driver for visual motion if they were paired in a previous exposure phase with vertical visual apparent motion. Thus, only after prolonged exposure, the pitch of a sound became an inducer for upper/lower visual motion. This occurred even if during exposure the pitch and location of the sounds were paired in an incongruent fashion. These findings indicate that pitch–space correspondence is not so strong to drive or modulate visual motion perception. However, associative exposure could increase the saliency of pitch–space relationships and then the pitch could induce visual motion perception by itself.


Crossmodal correspondence Multisensory perception Auditory space Pitch Visual motion perception 



We thank Wouter D.H. Stumpel for his technical supports. We are grateful to anonymous reviewers for their valuable and insightful comments and suggestions for early versions of the manuscript. This research was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Grant-in-Aid for Specially Promoted Research (No. 19001004) and Rikkyo University Special Fund for Research.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MOV 5970 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MOV 1671 kb)

Supplementary material 3 (MOV 3285 kb)

221_2013_3674_MOESM4_ESM.tif (254 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (TIFF 254 kb)
221_2013_3674_MOESM5_ESM.tif (102 kb)
Supplementary material 5 (TIFF 102 kb)
221_2013_3674_MOESM6_ESM.tif (175 kb)
Supplementary material 6 (TIFF 174 kb)
221_2013_3674_MOESM7_ESM.docx (38 kb)
Supplementary material 7 (DOCX 37 kb)


  1. Adams WJ, Graf EW, Ernst MO (2004) Experience can change the “light-from-above” prior. Nat Neurosci 7:1057–1058PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahissar M, Hochstein S (1993) Attentional control of early perceptual learning. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 90:5718–5722PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arman AC, Ciaramitaro VM, Boynton GM (2006) Effects of feature-based attention on the motion aftereffect at remote locations. Vision Res 46:2968–2976PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernstein IH, Edelstein BA (1971) Effects of some variations in auditory input upon visual choice reaction time. J Exp Psychol 87:241–247PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brainard DH (1997) The psychophysics toolbox. Spat Vis 10:433–436PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Calvert GA, Spence C, Stein BE (eds) (2004) The handbook of multisensory processing. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Cavanagh P, Favreau OE (1985) Color and luminance share a common motion pathway. Vision Res 25:1595–1601PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chiou R, Rich AN (2012) Cross-modality correspondence between pitch and spatial location modulates attentional orienting. Perception 41:339–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dolscheid S, Shayan S, Majid A, Casasanto D. (2011) The thickness of musical pitch: psychophysical evidence for the Whorfian hypothesis. In: Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, pp 537–542Google Scholar
  10. Ernst MO (2005) A Bayesian view on multimodal cue integration. In: Knoblich G, Thornton I, Grosjean M, Shiffrar M (eds) Perception of the human body perception from the inside out. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 105–131Google Scholar
  11. Ernst MO (2007) Learning to integrate arbitrary signals from vision and touch. J Vis 7(7):1–14PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ernst MO, Bülthoff HH (2004) Merging the senses into a robust percept. Trends Cogn Sci 8:162–169PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Evans KK, Treisman A (2010) Natural cross-modal mappings between visual and auditory features. J Vis 10(1):6: 1–12Google Scholar
  14. Guzman-Martinez E, Ortega L, Grabowecky M, Mossbridge J, Suzuki S (2012) Interactive coding of visual spatial frequency and auditory amplitude-modulation rate. Curr Biol 22:383–388PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hidaka S, Manaka Y, Teramoto W, Sugita Y, Miyauchi R, Gyoba J, Suzuki Y, Iwaya Y (2009) Alternation of sound location induces visual motion perception of a static object. PLoS ONE 4:e8188PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hidaka S, Teramoto W, Kobayashi M, Sugita Y (2011a) Sound-contingent visual motion aftereffect. BMC Neurosci 12:44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hidaka S, Teramoto W, Sugita Y, Manaka Y, Sakamoto S, Suzuki Y (2011b) Auditory motion information drives visual motion perception. PLoS ONE 6:e17499PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Klapetek A, Ngo MK, Spence C (2012) Does crossmodal correspondence modulate the facilitatory effect of auditory cues on visual search? Atten Percept Psychophys 74:1154–1167PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kobayashi M, Teramoto W, Hidaka S, Sugita Y (2012a) Indiscriminable sounds determine the direction of visual motion. Sci Rep 2:365PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kobayashi M, Teramoto W, Hidaka S, Sugita Y (2012b) Sound frequency and aural selectivity in sound-contingent visual motion aftereffect. PLoS ONE 7:e36803PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ludwig VU, Adachi I, Matsuzawa T (2011) Visuoauditory mappings between high luminance and high pitch are shared by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108:20661–20665PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Macmillan NA, Creelman CD (2004) Detection theory: a user’s guide, 2nd edn. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  23. Maeda F, Kanai R, Shimojo S (2004) Changing pitch induced visual motion illusion. Curr Biol 14:R990–R991PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Marks LE (2004) Cross-modal interactions in speeded classification. In: Calvert GA, Spence C, Stein BE (eds) Handbook of multisensory processes. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 85–105Google Scholar
  25. Mateeff S, Hohnsbein J, Noack T (1985) Dynamic visual capture: apparent auditory motion induced by a moving visual target. Perception 14:721–727PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mossbridge JA, Grabowecky M, Suzuki S (2011) Changes in auditory frequency guide visual-spatial attention. Cognition 121:133–139PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mudd SA (1963) Spatial stereotypes of four dimensions of pure tone. J Exp Psychol 66:347–352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Parise C, Spence C (2008) Synesthetic congruency modulates the temporal ventriloquism effect. Neurosci Lett 442:257–261PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parise CV, Spence C (2009) “When birds of a feather flock together”: synesthetic correspondences modulate audiovisual integration in non-synesthetes. PLoS ONE 4:e5664PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Parise CV, Spence C (2012) Audiovisual crossmodal correspondences and sound symbolism: a study using the implicit association test. Exp Brain Res 220:319–333PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pelli DG (1997) The VideoToolbox software for visual psychophysics: transforming numbers into movies. Spat Vis 10:437–442PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pratt CC (1930) The spatial character of high and low tones. J Exp Psychol 13:278–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Roffler SK, Butler RA (1968) Factors that influence the localization of sound in the vertical plane. J Acoust Soc Am 43:1255–1259PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rusconi E, Kwan B, Giordano BL, Umiltà C, Butterworth B (2006) Spatial representation of pitch height: the SMARC effect. Cognition 99:113–129PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sadaghiani S, Maier JX, Noppeney U (2009) Natural, metaphoric, and linguistic auditory direction signals have distinct influences on visual motion processing. J Neurosci 29:6490–6499PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Spence C (2011) Crossmodal correspondences: a tutorial review. Atten Percept Psychophys 73:971–995PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Spence C, Deroy O (2012) Crossmodal correspondences: innate or learned? Iperception 3:316–318PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Sweeny TD, Guzman-Martinez E, Ortega L, Grabowecky M, Suzuki S (2012) Sounds exaggerate visual shape. Cognition 124:194–200PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Teramoto W, Hidaka S, Sugita Y (2010a) Sounds move a static visual object. PLoS ONE 5:e12255PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Teramoto W, Manaka Y, Hidaka S, Sugita Y, Miyauchi R, Sakamoto S, Gyoba J, Iwaya Y, Suzuki Y (2010b) Visual motion perception induced by sounds in vertical plane. Neurosci Lett 479:221–225PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Walker R (1987) The effects of culture, environment, age, and musical training on choices of visual metaphors for sound. Percept Psychophys 42:491–502PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Walker P, Bremner JG, Mason U, Spring J, Mattock K, Slater A, Johnson SP (2010) Preverbal infants’ sensitivity to synaesthetic cross-modality correspondences. Psychol Sci 21:21–25PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zangenehpour S, Zatorre RJ (2010) Crossmodal recruitment of primary visual cortex following brief exposure to bimodal audiovisual stimuli. Neuropsychologia 48:591–600PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Souta Hidaka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wataru Teramoto
    • 2
  • Mirjam Keetels
    • 3
  • Jean Vroomen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRikkyo UniversityNiiza-shiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and Systems EngineeringMuroran Institute of TechnologyMuroranJapan
  3. 3.Department of Cognitive NeuropsychologyTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations