Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

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 [1-3]. 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 [4-9]. 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.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Biol

Publication Date





46 - 49


Acoustic Stimulation, Auditory Perception, Humans, Nontherapeutic Human Experimentation, Photic Stimulation, Visual Perception