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Open AccessArticle

Covert Exogenous Cross-Modality Orienting between Audition and Vision

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
This research was supported by grants from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada to R. Klein. The experiments described here were conducted in the 1980s. Some of those described in Part I were reported at the 1987 meeting of the Psychonomic Society (Klein, Brennan & Gilani, 1987); these and others from Part 1 were described in an unpublished manuscript (Klein, Brennan, D’Aloisio, D’Entremont & Gilani, 1987). Those described in Part II were reported at the 1989 meeting of the Canadian Acoustic Association (Klein & Juckes, 1989). Respecting history, our presentation of this research in Parts I and II, ~30 years after it was conducted, will follow closely how it was originally reported. In Part III the relation of the work presented here to more contemporary findings will be discussed.
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reflexive Shifts in Visual Attention)
Control of visual attention by auditory stimuli is explored in seven previously unpublished experiments that were presented at conferences in the late 1980s. Reaction time (RT) to luminance targets was found to be affected by the spatial congruence between the target and a preceding or simultaneous, and non-informative, auditory event, suggesting that localizable auditory stimuli exogenously (rapidly and automatically) capture visual attention. These cuing effects were obtained in the absence of eye movements and do not appear to be mediated merely by criterion adjustments. When the information value of the auditory event was placed in conflict with its location (i.e., a tone on the right indicated that the visual target was likely to appear on the left), it was found that at short stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) reaction time (RT) was faster for targets at the stimulated location, an effect that disappeared within 500 ms and was reversed by 1000 ms. This demonstrates that it requires over 500 ms for endogenous orienting in response to probabilistic information about target location to overcome the powerful exogenous control of visual attention by localizable auditory stimulation. Simple RT to auditory stimuli was unaffected by the spatial congruence of a preceding or simultaneous visual stimulus. When uninformative, neither pitch contours (rising/falling tones) nor pitch (high/low tones) produced significant visual orienting along the vertical midline. When the direction of a pitch contour indicated the likely location of a visual target, participants were able to shift their attention if the relation between the natural meaning and the probabilistic information was compatible (e.g., rising contour signaled that a upper target was likely) but not when it was incompatible. The relation of these 30-year-old experiments to contemporary findings and ideas is discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: cross-modal attention; exogenous orienting; vision; audition cross-modal attention; exogenous orienting; vision; audition
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Klein, R.M. Covert Exogenous Cross-Modality Orienting between Audition and Vision. Vision 2018, 2, 8.

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