, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 504-510

Stimulus compatibility effects of an accessory visual stimulus on auditory sensitivity


Studies have reported that an accessory stimulus in a second modality can have a facilitative effect on sensory detection in a primary modality. However, performance declines when the subject has the additional task of reporting on the accessory stimulus. The facilitative effect has been attributed to an arousal or warning process, while the interference effect has been characterized as a result of limited channel capacity. Auditory sensitivity was assessed under accessory visual stimulation. Visual stimulus intensity (arousal), processing demand, and interstimulus compatibility (same or opposite direction of change of primary and secondary stimuli) were manipulated. The results indicated that interstimulus compatibility, not arousal, accounted for the obtained facilitation effect. Interference due to additional task demands was not observed. It was proposed that the facilitation effect was due to selective sensory encoding.

This paper is based on a dissertation submitted by the first author to the Catholic University of America and was supported m part by NSF Grant GU-3285 to the Catholic University and the second author.