Attentional capacity for processing concurrent stimuli is larger across sensory modalities than within a modality.

D. Talsma, T.J. Doty, R. Strowd, M.G. Woldorff

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Abstract

One finding in attention research is that visual and auditory attention mechanisms are linked together. Such a link would predict a central, amodal capacity limit in processing visual and auditory stimuli. Here we show that this is not the case. Letter streams were accompanied by asynchronously presented streams of auditory, visual, and audiovisual objects. Either the letter streams or the visual, auditory, or audiovisual parts of the object streams were attended. Attending to various aspects of the objects resulted in modulations of the letter-stream-elicited steady-state evoked potentials (SSVEPs). SSVEPs were larger when auditory objects were attended than when either visual objects alone or when auditory and visual object stimuli were attended together. SSVEP amplitudes were the same in the latter conditions, indicating that attentional capacity between modalities is larger than attentional capacity within one and the same modality. Copyright © 2006 Society for Psychophysiological Research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-549
Number of pages10
JournalPsychophysiology
Volume43
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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