On the spatial specificity of audiovisual crossmodal exogenous cuing effects.
Lee J., Spence C.
It is generally-accepted that the presentation of an auditory cue will direct an observer's spatial attention to the region of space from where it originates and therefore facilitate responses to visual targets presented there rather than from a different position within the cued hemifield. However, to date, there has been surprisingly limited evidence published in support of such within-hemifield crossmodal exogenous spatial cuing effects. Here, we report two experiments designed to investigate within- and between-hemifield spatial cuing effects in the case of audiovisual exogenous covert orienting. Auditory cues were presented from one of four frontal loudspeakers (two on either side of central fixation). There were eight possible visual target locations (one above and another below each of the loudspeakers). The auditory cues were evenly separated laterally by 30° in Experiment 1, and by 10° in Experiment 2. The potential cue and target locations were separated vertically by approximately 19° in Experiment 1, and by 4° in Experiment 2. On each trial, the participants made a speeded elevation (i.e., up vs. down) discrimination response to the visual target following the presentation of a spatially-nonpredictive auditory cue. Within-hemifield spatial cuing effects were observed only when the auditory cues were presented from the inner locations. Between-hemifield spatial cuing effects were observed in both experiments. Taken together, these results demonstrate that crossmodal exogenous shifts of spatial attention depend on the eccentricity of both the cue and target in a way that has not been made explicit by previous research.