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  When Correlation Implies Causation in Multisensory Integration

Parise, C., Spence, C., & Ernst, M. (2012). When Correlation Implies Causation in Multisensory Integration. Current Biology, 22(1), 46-49. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.11.039.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-B870-A Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-8AA6-8
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Parise, CV1, 2, Author              
Spence, C, Author
Ernst, MO1, 2, Author              
Affiliations:
1Research Group Multisensory Perception and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497806              
2Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, Spemannstrasse 38, 72076 Tübingen, DE, ou_1497794              

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 Abstract: Inferring which signals have a common underlying cause, and hence should be integrated, represents a primary challenge for a perceptual system dealing with multiple sensory inputs [ [1], [2] and [3]]. This challenge is often referred to as the correspondence problem or causal inference. Previous research has demonstrated that spatiotemporal cues, along with prior knowledge, are exploited by the human brain to solve this problem [ [4], [5], [6], [7], [8] and [9]]. Here we explore the role of correlation between the fine temporal structure of auditory and visual signals in causal inference. Specifically, we investigated whether correlated signals are inferred to originate from the same distal event and hence are integrated optimally [10]. In a localization task with visual, auditory, and combined audiovisual targets, the improvement in precision for combined relative to unimodal targets was statistically optimal only when audiovisual signals were correlated. This result demonstrates that humans use the similarity in the temporal structure of multisensory signals to solve the correspondence problem, hence inferring causation from correlation.

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 Dates: 2012-01
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.11.039
BibTex Citekey: PariseSE2012
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Title: Current Biology
  Other : Curr. Biol.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London, UK : Cell Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 22 (1) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 46 - 49 Identifier: ISSN: 0960-9822
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925579107