Characteristic sounds make you look at the targets faster in visual search

L Iordanescu, M Grabowecky, S Franconeri, J. Theeuwes

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


When you are looking for an object, does hearing its characteristic sound make you find it more quickly? Our recent results supported this possibility by demonstrating that when a cat target, for example, was presented among other objects, a simultaneously presented "meow" sound (containing no spatial information) reduced the manual response time for visual localization of the target. To extend these results, we determined how rapidly an object-specific auditory signal can facilitate target detection in visual search. On each trial, participants fixated a specified target object as quickly as possible. The target's characteristic sound speeded the saccadic search time within 215-220 msec and also guided the initial saccade toward the target, compared with presentation of a distractor's sound or with no sound. These results suggest that object-based auditory-visual interactions rapidly increase the target object's salience in visual search. © 2010 The Psychonomic Society, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1736-1741
JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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