The ability to distinguish self-generated stimuli from those caused by external sources is critical for all behaving organisms. Although many studies point to a sensory attenuation of self-generated stimuli, recent evidence suggests that motor actions can result in either attenuated or enhanced perceptual processing depending on the environmental context (i.e., stimulus intensity). The present study employed 2-AFC sound detection and loudness discrimination tasks to test whether sound source (self- or externally-generated) and stimulus intensity (supra- or near-threshold) interactively modulate detection ability and loudness perception. Self-generation did not affect detection and discrimination sensitivity (i.e., detection thresholds and Just Noticeable Difference, respectively). However, in the discrimination task, we observed a significant interaction between self-generation and intensity on perceptual bias (i.e. Point of Subjective Equality). Supra-threshold self-generated sounds were perceived softer than externally-generated ones, while at near-threshold intensities self-generated sounds were perceived louder than externally-generated ones. Our findings provide empirical support to recent theories on how predictions and signal intensity modulate perceptual processing, pointing to interactive effects of intensity and self-generation that seem to be driven by a biased estimate of perceived loudness, rather by changes in detection and discrimination sensitivity.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience