August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
Characteristic sounds make you look at the targets faster in visual search
Author Affiliations
  • Lucica Iordanescu
    Northwestern University
  • Marcia Grabowecky
    Northwestern University
  • Steven Franconeri
    Northwestern University
  • Jan Theeuwes
    Vrije Universiteit
  • Satoru Suzuki
    Northwestern University
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 729. doi:
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      Lucica Iordanescu, Marcia Grabowecky, Steven Franconeri, Jan Theeuwes, Satoru Suzuki; Characteristic sounds make you look at the targets faster in visual search. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):729.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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We previously demonstrated that characteristic sounds (without location information) facilitate target localization in visual search (PBR 2008). For example, when the target is a cat, a simultaneously presented “meow” sound speeds localization of the cat compared to other sounds and no sounds. However, because response time was indicated by key presses, it is possible that characteristic sounds might have facilitated the process of target confirmation, rather than the process of searching for the target. The present study investigates this using eye movements as the mode of response. The target (e.g., a cat) was verbally indicated at the beginning of each trial. Each search display contained a target (e.g., a cat) and seven distractors (e.g., a car, a mosquito, a dog, a lighter, a bicycle, a stapler, and a wineglass). The display was presented simultaneously with a sound that was either associated with the target (e.g., “meow”) or a distractor (e.g., “clink”), or with no sounds. The task was to fixate the target as quickly as possible. As soon as the participant fixated the target (as determined with an eye tracker) the search display disappeared and response time was recorded. This saccadic response time reflects the time it takes to find the target and is unlikely to be contaminated by post-search processes such as target confirmation. The targets' characteristic sounds significantly speeded saccadic response times compared to both distractor sounds and no sounds. Furthermore, characteristic sounds produced a significantly higher proportion of fast response times ([[lt]]250 ms) as compared to both distractor sounds and no sounds. These new results confirm that characteristic sounds speed the process of locating visual targets via object-specific cross-modal enhancements. Indeed, when you look for your lost keys, you should jiggle someone else's.

Iordanescu, L. Grabowecky, M. Franconeri, S. Theeuwes, J. Suzuki, S. (2009). Characteristic sounds make you look at the targets faster in visual search [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):729, 729a,, doi:10.1167/9.8.729. [CrossRef]

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