, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 77-94
Date: 29 May 2010

On quantifying multisensory interaction effects in reaction time and detection rate

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Both mean reaction time (RT) and detection rate (DR) are important measures for assessing the amount of multisensory interaction occurring in crossmodal experiments, but they are often applied separately. Here we demonstrate that measuring multisensory performance using either RT or DR alone misses out on important information. We suggest an integration of RT and DR into a single measure of multisensory performance: the first index (MRE*) is based on an arithmetic combination of RT and DR, the second (MPE) is constructed from parameters derived from fitting a sequential sampling model to RT and DR data simultaneously. Our approach is illustrated by data from two audio–visual experiments. In the first, a redundant targets detection experiment using stimuli of different intensity, both measures yield similar pattern of results supporting the “principle of inverse effectiveness”. The second experiment, introducing stimulus onset asynchrony and differing instructions (focused attention vs. redundant targets task) further supports the usefulness of both indices. Statistical properties of both measures are investigated via bootstrapping procedures.

This paper is part of a dissertation submitted by S.R. in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany.