Characteristic sounds make you look at target objects more quickly

Lucica Iordanescu, Marcia Grabowecky, Steven Franconeri, Jan Theeuwes, Satoru Suzuki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


When you are looking for an object, does hearing its characteristic sound make you find it more quickly? Our recent results supported this possibility by demonstrating that when a cat target, for example, was presented among other objects, a simultaneously presented "meow" sound (containing no spatial information) reduced the manual response time for visual localization of the target. To extend these results, we determined how rapidly an object-specific auditory signal can facilitate target detection in visual search. On each trial, participants fixated a specified target object as quickly as possible. The target's characteristic sound speeded the saccadic search time within 215-220 msec and also guided the initial saccade toward the target, compared with presentation of a distractor's sound or with no sound. These results suggest that object-based auditory-visual interactions rapidly increase the target object's salience in visual search.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1736-1741
Number of pages6
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Linguistics and Language


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