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Intramodal and intermodal matching of auditory and visual temporal patterns

McGill University
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  • Auditory Perception.
  • Visual Perception.


A series of six studies investigated whether an amodal or modality-specific model of perception best accounted for auditory and visual processing of temporal patterns. Intramodal and intermodal pattern pairs were presented to subjects in a same-different paradigm. The first two studies found that performance on all modality pairs changed in parallel with age and complexity or delay. These data were consistent with the amodal model of perceptual processing: the modality of the patterns did not affect performance. The last four studies found that when considerably more difficult comparisons were combined with blocking on intramodal and intermodal trials a difference emerged between the two types of trials. Intramodal performance was superior to intermodal performance. The effect was subtle though and difficult to isolate. At no point in these studies was there evidence of modality-adeptness; visual and auditory processing of the temporal patterns was equally proficient. A multicoding model was proposed to accommodate these results, in general accord with information processing and amodal models of perception.

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