Effects of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation on Vision: Oscillations in Performance Can Be Enhanced, but Not Induced

Emily C. Cunningham, Ranxiao Frances Wang, Diane M. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A variety of reports suggest that rhythmic auditory stimulation can entrain visual perception, inducing perceptual oscillations as a function of time relative to the auditory rhythm. These effects have, to date, been reported only for stimulation frequencies at and below 3 Hz. Here we investigate the effects of rhythmic auditory stimulation on the detection of masked visual targets when this stimulation occurs at frequencies to which the visual system has been shown to entrain (8–12 Hz). Across four experiments, we found no consistent evidence of poststimulation modulations in performance induced by 8.5, 10.6, or 12.1 Hz auditory stimulation. This absence of a consistent auditory-to-visual effect was paralleled by an absence of unimodal effects (oscillations in auditory performance) following 12.1 Hz auditory stimulation. In a fifth experiment, we found that although auditory stimulation alone did not induce oscillations in visual performance, auditory stimulation did enhance the effects of concurrent visual stimulation. Notably, this enhancement did not require synchronous presentation of stimuli. These observations are consistent with recent reports that passive auditory stimulation beyond 5 Hz induces neither auditory perceptual oscillations nor visual cortical oscillations and suggest limits to the extent of cross-modal entrainment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1153-1171
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Auditory
  • Cross-modal
  • Entrainment
  • Oscillation
  • Visual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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