, Volume 57, Issue 8, pp 1151-1162

Visual-auditory interaction in speeded classification: Role of stimulus difference

Abstract

An experiment examined cross-modal interference and congruence in speeded classification: Subjects had to identify compound (visual-auditory) stimuli as either low or high in spatial position (visual judgment) or low or high in pitch (auditory judgment), in 16 conditions, each of which combined one of four possible pairs of tones, varying in frequency difference, with one of four possible pairs of dots, varying in positional difference. Both classification by position and classification by pitch revealed Garner interference (poorer performance than baseline, with orthogonal variation in the irrelevant dimension) and congruence effects (better performance with congruent than with incongruent stimulus combinations), but pitch classification showed more. Furthermore, the size of the pitch difference strongly affected classification by pitch and less strongly affected classification by position, but the size of the position difference affected neither. The findings are consistent with the view that Garner interference and congruence effects are closely related, perhaps arising from a common source, and suggest that the asymmetries could depend in part on the degree of dimensional overlap between stimuli and responses.

This research was supported by Grant DC 00271 from the National Institutes of Health to L.E.M.