Spatial uninformative sounds increase sensitivity for visual motion change

Sabine M. Staufenbiel, Rob H.J. van der Lubbe, Durk Talsma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


It has recently been shown that spatially uninformative sounds can cause a visual stimulus to pop out from an array of similar distractor stimuli when that sound is presented in temporal proximity to a feature change in the visual stimulus. Until now, this effect has predominantly been demonstrated by using stationary stimuli. Here, we extended these results by showing that auditory stimuli can also improve the sensitivity of visual motion change detection. To accomplish this, we presented moving visual stimuli (small dots) on a computer screen. At a random moment during a trial, one of these stimuli could abruptly move in an orthogonal direction. Participants’ task was to indicate whether such an abrupt motion change occurred or not by making a corresponding button press. If a sound (a short 1,000 Hz tone pip) co-occurred with the abrupt motion change, participants were able to detect this motion change more frequently than when the sound was not present. Using measures derived from signal detection theory, we were able to demonstrate that the effect on accuracy was due to increased sensitivity rather than to changes in response bias.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-464
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental brain research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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