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Two stimuli in different modalities are perceived as one multi-sensory stimulus if the position in space and point time at which they are presented are not too far apart.

An auditory and a visual stimulus, separated in time, may be perceived as one audio-visual stimulus, seemingly occurring at the same point in time.

If an auditory and a visual stimulus are close together, spatially, then they are more likely perceived as one cross-modal stimulus than if they are far apart—even if they are separated temporally.

In a sensorimotor synchronization task, Aschersleben and Bertelson found that an auditory distractor biased the temporal perception of a visual target stimulus more strongly than the other way around.

An experiment by Burr et al. showed auditory dominance in a temporal bisection task (studying the temporal ventriloquism effect). The results were qualitatively but not quantitatively predicted by an optimal-integration model.

There are two possibilities explaining the latter result:

  • audio-visual integration is not optimal in this case, or
  • the model is incorrect. Specifically, the assumption of Gaussian noise in timing estimation may not reflect actual noise.