Visual Looming Cues Increase the Auditory Looming Bias​

Head shot of Maggie McCracken

Name: Maggie McCracken
Major: Psychology
Advisor: John Neuhoff

Approaching, or looming, objects have been environmentally important cues throughout human evolution because of potential danger. Humans integrate both auditory and visual information that are emitted by moving objects. While visual arrival time estimates are relatively more accurate, auditory estimates are anticipatory as observers perceive a looming sound source as arriving before it actually does. The present study aims to understand how coincident visual information influences auditory perception through loudness change. Participants made loudness change judgments of sounds presented unimodally or with visual motion. Sounds were presented in two intensity ranges, providing information on proximity, and included both looming and receding motion. The results showed that listeners perceived looming sounds as changing more in loudness than equivalent receding sounds. Coincident visual motion increased listener’s loudness change only in the receding conditions. These findings demonstrate that auditory perception is susceptible to changes in the visual domain. This study also provides additional evidence supporting an adaptive bias in the perception and integration of looming objects. 

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2022.

8 responses to “Visual Looming Cues Increase the Auditory Looming Bias​”

  1. Gregory McCracken says:

    This is a thoughtful study. We will be looming toward you soon. So proud. Well done.

  2. Austin Piatt says:

    Great work, Maggie. Congratulations!! Big things are in your future.

  3. Allison Roberts says:

    Impressive study Maggie! So, will I hear a train coming at me sooner than a train coming from behind me?

  4. Maggie McCracken says:

    Hi Allison! Great question — If we assume you could also see the train in front but not behind, you would perceive the train from behind as arriving sooner because of auditory perception without vision is much more anticipatory.

  5. Bryan K says:

    Maggie – What a wonderfully designed study! Congratulations!

  6. Jillian Morrison says:

    Maggie, such an interesting study! now I will be listening for things coming at or behind me to see how this works!

  7. Hannah Groetsch says:

    Great job Maggie!

  8. Abby McFarren says:

    Congrats Maggie! Such an interesting project