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Caroline Seidel, Dejan Draschkow, Melissa Vo; Cued by the bzzzzzzzz?! The influence of object sounds on visual search and memory performance. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):814. doi: 10.1167/18.10.814.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Auditory processing is an important component of natural experiences and might bias visual search tasks. Prior studies demonstrated that a non-spatial, target synchronous sound speeds up visual search. Even when we dissolve the synchronicity between the visual and auditory information, a target characteristic sound facilitates several components of visual search performance while searching artificial displays. In two experiments, we tested the influence of sound cues on visual search and memory performance in real-world scenes. In Experiment 1 (N=16), participants had to search for target objects in 72 colored images of scenes. Before starting the search, the scene was briefly presented, followed by a visual cue. We manipulated the subsequent auditory cue by presenting either a characteristic sound congruent with the target or an unrecognizable version (scrambled) of the same sound. The target object in the scene could be located in syntactically consistent (e.g., an electrical toothbrush next to the sink) or inconsistent (e.g., the same toothbrush stuck in the towel rack) locations. After completing the visual search task, participants' identity and location memory was tested. In Experiment 2 (N=15), the participants had to perform the same search task, with the difference being that distractor sounds instead of scrambled sounds were presented. For distractor sounds we used the sound of objects located in the same scene as the target. In both experiments, objects located consistently were found faster than inconsistently placed ones. In contrast to previous studies, non-spatially informative sounds neither significantly influenced visual search nor memory performance in scenes. This effect could be attributed to an overall difference between scene and display search (e.g., use of scene-syntactic guidance), semantic similarity of the sounds or the low task relevance of the sound.The bzzzz might guide your toothbrushing, but your scene search not so much.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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