September 2011
Volume 11, Issue 11
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2011
Cross Modal Object-Based Attentional Guidance
Author Affiliations
  • Emily Bilger
    George Washington University, USA
  • Sarah Shomstein
    George Washington University, USA
Journal of Vision September 2011, Vol.11, 135. doi:
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      Emily Bilger, Sarah Shomstein; Cross Modal Object-Based Attentional Guidance. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):135.

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

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Over the past decade there has been mounting evidence suggesting that attentional allocation is guided by object representations and that attentional prioritization is the mechanism that gives rise to object-based effects. However, it should be noted that most evidence for object-based guidance has been garnered by studies restricted exclusively to the visual modality. As such, it remains unclear whether object-based guidance of attention is unique to the visual modality or, rather, it reflects a general property of attentional allocation. In the present set of experiments we investigated whether cross modal attentional allocation is also object-based. Participants were presented with a visual display consisting of two rectangles that included two cross-modal cue-target combinations. In the first experiment a visual cue was followed by an auditory target presented at the cued location or at an equidistant location on either the same object or a different object. In the second experiment, an auditory cue was presented followed by a visual target. It was observed that in both cross-modal cue-target pairings (audio/visual and visuo/auditory) objects guided attentional allocation such that same-object targets were detected faster than different-object targets. Additional experiments were conducted to examine whether attentional prioritization is the mechanism guiding cross-modal object-based guidance by introducing probabilistic imbalances such that more targets appeared on different-object locations as compared to same-object locations. The observed pattern of results strongly suggests that object-based attentional guidance is not restricted to the visual modality alone but extends to cross-modal attentional orienting, and that attentional prioritization is the mechanism subserving such guidance. Taken together, these results place further constraints on the mechanisms of attentional allocation.


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