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Does auditory attention shift in the direction of an upcoming saccade?

Authors
Journal
Neuropsychologia
0028-3932
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
37
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0028-3932(98)00072-4
Keywords
  • Covert Orienting
  • Eye Movements
  • Hearing
  • Crossmodal
  • Premotor Theory

Abstract

Abstract In a series of experiments, we examined whether auditory attention shifts in the direction of an upcoming saccade, as recently reported for visual attention. Normal listeners made speeded discriminations for the elevation (up versus down) of abrupt sounds, regardless of their laterality. Each sound was presented around the time that a lateral saccade was made. Auditory elevation discriminations were reliably faster when the saccade was made towards the side of the auditory probe rather than away. Furthermore, an auditory probe on one side speeded up centrally-cued saccades made in that direction, although sounds did not influence saccades to peripheral visual events. The latter visual events were insufficient to affect hearing unless a saccade was made towards them. A further study showed that fixating towards or away from sounds, rather than saccading, could also affect elevation judgements, with poorer performance when fixating away. However, the influence of an upcoming saccade upon hearing could not be reduced to this fixation effect, since the saccade influence was found even for sounds which terminated before any shift in fixation began. Taken together, our results imply that the direction of an upcoming saccade can affect hearing, as can eye-position.

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