Lower multisensory temporal acuity in individuals with high schizotypal traits: a web-based study

Gianluca Marsicano, Filippo Cerpelloni, David Melcher, Luca Ronconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Natural events are often multisensory, requiring the brain to combine information from the same spatial location and timing, across different senses. The importance of temporal coincidence has led to the introduction of the temporal binding window (TBW) construct, defined as the time range within which multisensory inputs are highly likely to be perceptually bound into a single entity. Anomalies in TBWs have been linked to confused perceptual experiences and inaccurate filtering of sensory inputs coming from different environmental sources. Indeed, larger TBWs have been associated with disorders such as schizophrenia and autism and are also correlated to a higher level of subclinical traits of these conditions in the general population. Here, we tested the feasibility of using a web-based version of a classic audio-visual simultaneity judgment (SJ) task with simple flash-beep stimuli in order to measure multisensory temporal acuity and its relationship with schizotypal traits as measured in the general population. Results show that: (i) the response distribution obtained in the web-based SJ task was strongly similar to those reported by studies carried out in controlled laboratory settings, and (ii) lower multisensory temporal acuity was associated with higher schizotypal traits in the “cognitive-perceptual” domains. Our findings reveal the possibility of adequately using a web-based audio-visual SJ task outside a controlled laboratory setting, available to a more diverse and representative pool of participants. These results provide additional evidence for a close relationship between lower multisensory acuity and the expression of schizotypal traits in the general population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2782
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 17 2022


  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception
  • Autistic Disorder/physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Schizophrenia/physiopathology
  • Time Perception
  • Visual Perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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