Synchronicity as a General Code for Relatedness

If synchronicity serves as the signature of re-latedness, then synchronized responses should be interpreted as being related, irrespective of the cause of synchronization. Psychophysical evidence supports this conjecture, indicating that synchronously presented stimuli are bound perceptually and interpreted as elements of the same figure with greater probability than asynchronously appearing texture elements (Leonards et al. 1996; Leonards and Singer 1997, 1998; Alais et al. 1998; Usher and Donnelly 1998; but see Kiper et al. 1996). Hence, the synchronicity of responses imposed by simultaneously appearing texture elements (stimulus-locked synchronization) seems to be exploited for perceptual grouping. With respect to their strength and temporal precision, the externally induced and internally generated synchrony are virtually indistinguishable. Since the psychophysical results indicate that the former is interpreted as a signature of relatedness, it would be puzzling if this were not the case for internally generated synchrony as well. Synchronization could, thus serve as a general tag of relatedness irrespective of whether it results from coincidence of external events or from internal grouping operations.

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