Capturing spatial attention with multisensory cues: a review.
Spence C., Santangelo V.
The last 30 years have seen numerous studies demonstrating unimodal and crossmodal spatial cuing effects. However, surprisingly few studies have attempted to investigate whether multisensory cues might be any more effective in capturing a person's spatial attention than unimodal cues. Indeed, until very recently, the consensus view was that multisensory cues were, in fact, no more effective. However, the results of several recent studies have overturned this conclusion, by showing that multisensory cues retain their attention-capturing ability under conditions of perceptual load (i.e., when participants are simultaneously engaged in a concurrent attention-demanding task) while their constituent signals (when presented unimodally) do not. Here we review the empirical literature on multisensory spatial cuing effects and highlight the implications that this research has for the design of more effective warning signals in applied settings.