Benedetto, A., Burr, D. C., & Morrone, M. C.
Perceptual Oscillation of Audiovisual Time Simultaneity
Action and perception are tightly coupled systems requiring coordination and synchronization over time. How the brain achieves synchronization is still a matter of debate, but recent experiments suggest that brain oscillations may play an important role in this process. Brain oscillations have been also proposed to be fundamental in determining time perception. Here, we had subjects perform an audiovisual temporal order judgment task to investigate the fine dynamics of temporal bias and sensitivity before and after the execution of voluntary hand movement (button-press). The reported order of the audiovisual sequence was rhythmically biased as a function of delay from hand action execution. Importantly, we found that it oscillated at a theta range frequency, starting ∼500 ms before and persisting ∼250 ms after the button-press, with consistent phase-locking across participants. Our results show that the perception of cross-sensory simultaneity oscillates rhythmically in synchrony with the programming phase of a voluntary action, demonstrating a link between action preparation and bias in temporal perceptual judgments.