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Cross-Modal perception of contour: The role of surface correlation and fourier analysis similarity

Prince, J.B.ORCID: 0000-0002-8267-9963 and Schmuckler, M.A. (2005) Cross-Modal perception of contour: The role of surface correlation and fourier analysis similarity. In: 46th Annual Meeting. Psychonomic Society, 10 - 13 November 2005, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The perceived similarity of cross-modally presented contours was investigated with two experiments. The combination of surface correlation and Fourier analysis techniques allows quantitative descriptions of both global and local contour information. Experiment 1 investigated auditory–visual similarity by presenting a tonal melody followed by a line drawing and asking participants to rate the similarity between the two. Both stimuli were coded as integer series representing pitch or vertical height, respectively. Ratings were predicted by the surface correlation between the melody and the drawing (the correlation of the two integer series). Experiment 2 reversed the order of presentation by presenting the drawing first, followed by the melody. Surface correlation again predicted similarity ratings, in addition to amplitude and phase components derived from a Fourier analysis model. These results validate the Fourier analysis model of contour cross-modally, particularly when participants must attend to the global character of visual and auditory contours.

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