We experience the world through our senses, a constant torrent of sights, sounds, smells, and more. Our brains take these signals and process them, giving rise to our individual perceptions of the world. But sometimes our senses play tricks on us, notably in the case of perceptual illusions.
Now, Caltech researchers have developed two new illusions that reveal how the senses can influence each other — in particular, how sound can give rise to visual illusions. These illusions occur so quickly that they illustrate a phenomenon called postdiction (as opposed to prediction) in which a stimulus that occurs later can retroactively affect our perceptions of an earlier event.
The Caltech work is among the first to show this kind of time-traveling illusion across multiple senses.
The work was done in the laboratory of Shinsuke Shimojo, Gertrude Baltimore Professor of Experimental Psychology and affiliated faculty member of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech. A paper describing the research appears in the October 3 issue of the journal PLOS ONE.