Fooling the Eyes: The Influence of a Sound-Induced Visual Motion Illusion on Eye Movements

Alessio Fracasso, Stefano Targher, Massimiliano Zampini, David Melcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The question of whether perceptual illusions influence eye movements is critical for the long-standing debate regarding the separation between action and perception. To test the role of auditory context on a visual illusion and on eye movements, we took advantage of the fact that the presence of an auditory cue can successfully modulate illusory motion perception of an otherwise static flickering object (sound-induced visual motion effect). We found that illusory motion perception modulated by an auditory context consistently affected saccadic eye movements. Specifically, the landing positions of saccades performed towards flickering static bars in the periphery were biased in the direction of illusory motion. Moreover, the magnitude of this bias was strongly correlated with the effect size of the perceptual illusion. These results show that both an audio-visual and a purely visual illusion can significantly affect visuo-motor behavior. Our findings are consistent with arguments for a tight link between perception and action in localization tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere62131
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 26 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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