Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Frontiers in Psychology





First page number:


Last page number:



In the presence of a continually changing sensory environment, maintaining stable but flexible awareness is paramount, and requires continual organization of information. Determining which stimulus features belong together, and which are separate is therefore one of the primary tasks of the sensory systems. Unknown is whether there is a global or sensory-specific mechanism that regulates the final perceptual outcome of this streaming process. To test the extent of modality independence in perceptual control, an auditory streaming experiment, and a visual moving-plaid experiment were performed. Both were designed to evoke alternating perception of an integrated or segregated percept. In both experiments, transient auditory and visual distractor stimuli were presented in separate blocks, such that the distractors did not overlap in frequency or space with the streaming or plaid stimuli, respectively, thus preventing peripheral interference. When a distractor was presented in the opposite modality as the bistable stimulus (visual distractors during auditory streaming or auditory distractors during visual streaming), the probability of percept switching was not significantly different than when no distractor was presented. Conversely, significant differences in switch probability were observed following within-modality distractors, but only when the pre-distractor percept was segregated. Due to the modality-specificity of the distractor-induced resetting, the results suggest that conscious perception is at least partially controlled by modality-specific processing. The fact that the distractors did not have peripheral overlap with the bistable stimuli indicates that the perceptual reset is due to interference at a locus in which stimuli of different frequencies and spatial locations are integrated.


Auditory scene analysis; Auditory-visual perception; Psychophysics; Sensory distractors; Stream segregation; Visual scene analysis


Cognition and Perception | Sense Organs

File Format


File Size

961 KB




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

UNLV article access

Search your library