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Yiwen Yu, Haoyue Ji, Li Wang, Yi Jiang; Cross-modal social attention triggered by biological motion cues. Journal of Vision 2020;20(10):21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.10.21.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous research has demonstrated that biological motion (BM) cues can induce reflexive attentional orienting. This BM-triggered social attention has hitherto only been investigated within visual modality. It remains unknown whether and to what extent social attention induced by BM cues can occur across different sensory modalities. By introducing auditory stimuli to a modified central cueing paradigm, we showed that observers responded significantly faster to auditory targets presented in the walking direction of BM than in the opposite direction, reflecting the notion that BM cues can trigger cross-modal social attention. This effect was not due to the viewpoint effect of the global configuration and could be extended to local BM cues without any global configuration. Critically, such cross-modal social attention was sensitive to the orientation of BM cues and completely disappeared when critical biological characteristics were removed. Our findings, taken together, support the existence of a special multimodal attention mechanism tuned to life motion signals and shed new light on the unique and cross-modal nature of social attention.
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