Stimuli. This mono audio track contains a static version of the ten comparison stimuli used in Experiment 1 and in the control experiment. from Modulation frequency as a cue for auditory speed perception

Unlike vision, the mechanisms underlying auditory motion perception are poorly understood. Here we describe an auditory motion illusion revealing a novel cue to auditory speed perception: the temporal frequency of amplitude modulation (AM-frequency), typical for rattling sounds. Naturally, corrugated objects sliding across each other generate rattling sounds whose AM-frequency tends to directly correlate with speed. We found that AM-frequency modulates auditory speed perception in a highly systematic fashion: moving sounds with higher AM-frequency are perceived as moving faster than sounds with lower AM-frequency. Even more interestingly, sounds with higher AM-frequency also induce stronger motion aftereffects. This reveals the existence of specialized neural mechanisms for auditory motion perception, which are sensitive to AM-frequency. Thus, in spatial hearing, the brain successfully capitalizes on the AM-frequency of rattling sounds to estimate the speed of moving objects. This tightly parallels previous findings in motion vision, where spatio-temporal frequency of moving displays systematically affects both speed perception and the magnitude of the motion aftereffects. Such an analogy with vision suggests that motion detection may rely on canonical computations, with similar neural mechanisms shared across the different modalities.