From Science Daily:

A sudden explosion, cracking sounds and flashing lights. In a blink of an eye, you realize that sounds and lights belong together, you look down and see firecrackers on the sidewalk. The human brain is surprisingly efficient at processing multisensory information. However, we still do not know how it solves the seemingly simple task of deciding whether sound and light belong together or not. “Figuring out a correspondence between the senses is by no means a trivial problem” says Dr. Cesare Parise, who works at CITEC in the research group Cognitive Neurosciences. Parise, who is also active at the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, is the lead author of the new study, which he wrote together with Professor Dr. Marc Ernst, who conducted research at Bielefeld University through March 2016. “Despite originating from the same physical events, visual and auditory information are processed in largely independent neural pathways, and yet, with no apparent effort, we can instantly tell which signals belong together. Such a task would be challenging, even for the most advanced robots.”

To understand how humans combine visual and auditory information, volunteers agreed to par-ticipate to a perception experiment in which they observed random sequences of clicks and flashes. After each sequence, they had to report whether sound and light perceptually be-longed together, and which signal appeared first. Statistical analyses revealed that human responses were systematically determined by the similarity (i.e., correlation) of the temporal sequences of the clicks and flashes. “This is a very important finding,” says…

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