Learned face–voice pairings facilitate visual search

L. Jacob Zweig*, Satoru Suzuki, Marcia Grabowecky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Voices provide a rich source of information that is important for identifying individuals and for social interaction. During search for a face in a crowd, voices often accompany visual information, and they facilitate localization of the sought-after individual. However, it is unclear whether this facilitation occurs primarily because the voice cues the location of the face or because it also increases the salience of the associated face. Here we demonstrate that a voice that provides no location information nonetheless facilitates visual search for an associated face. We trained novel face–voice associations and verified learning using a two-alternative forced choice task in which participants had to correctly match a presented voice to the associated face. Following training, participants searched for a previously learned target face among other faces while hearing one of the following sounds (localized at the center of the display): a congruent learned voice, an incongruent but familiar voice, an unlearned and unfamiliar voice, or a time-reversed voice. Only the congruent learned voice speeded visual search for the associated face. This result suggests that voices facilitate the visual detection of associated faces, potentially by increasing their visual salience, and that the underlying crossmodal associations can be established through brief training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-436
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Crossmodal integration
  • Face perception
  • Spatial attention
  • Visual search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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