Date of Award

8-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Schlesinger, Matthew

Second Advisor

Young, Michael

Abstract

The current study investigates the influence of auditory cues on the localization of briefly presented peripheral visual stimuli. Because the brief presentation of peripheral visual stimuli often leads to mislocalization (Binda, Morrone, & Burr, 2010; Bocianski, Musseler, & Erlhagen, 2008; Musseler, Heijden, Mahmud, Dubel, & Ertsey, 1999) these types of stimuli are the most commonly studied and represent the basis of the current study. Musseler et al. (1999) found that peripheral mislocalization toward the fovea occurred during asynchronous presentations of a pair of visual stimuli in retinal periphery, but not during synchronous presentations of stimuli. The current project is an investigation of how sound influences mislocalization of briefly presented peripheral stimuli. If the mechanism of mislocalization is an increased variability of responses when the peripheral stimuli are presented asynchronously, could sound reduce the variability of localization judgments and thus, reduce or eliminate the mislocalization effect? Does sound influence peripheral mislocalization in some other way? This study found that during a relative judgment task, a brief, laterally presented sound leads to mislocalization of a target stimulus toward the direction of the sound (Experiment 1). During an absolute judgment task, however, the influence of the brief, laterally presented sound no longer evokes mislocalization in the direction of the sound. Rather, stimulus onset asynchrony elicits mislocalization similar to the results of Musseler et al. (Experiment 2). When a dynamic sound stimulus occurs prior to the onset of the target stimulus during an absolute judgment task, however, sound idiosyncratically influences the localization of a target stimulus toward the onset of the sound stimulus or direction of the apparent motion of the sound stimulus (Experiment 3).

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