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August 2021

Involuntary listening aids seeing: Evidence from human electrophysiology

Author(s): Ward, L. M.

Journal/Book: Psychol Sci. 2000; 11: 350 Main Street, Ste 6, Malden, MA 02148, USA. Blackwell Publishers. 167-171.

Abstract: It is well known that sensory events of one modality can influence judgments of sensory events in other modalities. For example, people respond more quickly to a target appearing at the location of a previous cue than to a target appearing at another location, even when the rule stimuli are from different modalities. Such cross-modal interactions suggest that involuntary spatial attention mechanisms are not entirely modality-specific. In the present study event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded to elucidate the neural basis and timing of involuntary, cross-modal spatial attention effects. We found that orienting spatial attention to an irrelevant sound modulates the ERP to a subsequent visual target over modality-specific, extrastriate visual cortex, but only after the initial stages of sensory processing are completed. These findings are consistent with the proposal that in voluntary spatial attention orienting to auditory and visual stimuli involves shared or at least linked brain mechanisms.

Note: Article McDonald JJ, Univ Calif San Diego, Dept Neurosci, 9500 Gilman Dr, Mail Code 0608, La Jolla,CA 92093 USA

Keyword(s): SPATIAL SELECTIVE ATTENTION; AUDIOVISUAL LINKS; VISUAL-ATTENTION; MECHANISMS; EXTRASTRIATE; ERP; STIMULI; SHIFTS; CORTEX


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