Article

Multisensory integration affects visuo-spatial working memory.

Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy.
Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance (Impact Factor: 3.11). 05/2011; 37(4):1099-109. DOI: 10.1037/a0023513
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In the present study, we investigate how spatial attention, driven by unisensory and multisensory cues, can bias the access of information into visuo-spatial working memory (VSWM). In a series of four experiments, we compared the effectiveness of spatially-nonpredictive visual, auditory, or audiovisual cues in capturing participants' spatial attention towards a location where to-be-remembered visual stimuli were or were not presented (cued/uncued trials, respectively). The results suggest that the effect of peripheral visual cues in biasing the access of information into VSWM depend on the size of the attentional focus, while auditory cues did not have direct effects in biasing VSWM. Finally, spatially congruent multisensory cues showed an enlarged attentional effect in VSWM as compared to unimodal visual cues, as a likely consequence of multisensory integration. This latter result sheds new light on the interplay between spatial attention and VSWM, pointing to the special role exerted by multisensory (audiovisual) cues.

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