Effects of Auditory Input on a Spatial Serial Response Time Task


The current study examined how relevant and irrelevant auditory stimuli affect the speed of responding to structured visual sequences. Participants were presented with a dot that appeared in different locations on a touch screen monitor and they were instructed to quickly touch the dot. Response times sped up over time, suggesting that participants learned the visual sequences. Response times in Experiment 1 were slower when the dot was paired with random sounds, suggesting that irrelevant sounds slowed down visual processing/responding. Dots in Experiment 2 were paired with correlated sounds (both auditory and visual information provided location information). While the redundant intersensory information did not speed up response times, it did partially attenuate auditory interference. These findings have implications on tasks that require processing of simultaneously presented auditory and visual information and provide evidence of auditory interference and possibly dominance on a task that typically favors the visual modality.

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