Time-compressed spoken word primes crossmodally enhance processing of semantically congruent visual targets.

Angela Mahr, Dirk Wentura

In: Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 76 2 Pages 575-590 Springer 2014.


Findings from three experiments support the conclusion that auditory primes facilitate the processing of related targets. In Experiments 1 and 2, we employed a crossmodal Stroop color identification task with auditory color words (as primes) and visual color patches (as targets). Responses were faster for congruent priming, in comparison to neutral or incongruent priming. This effect also emerged for different levels of time compression of the auditory primes (to 30%and 10%of the original length; i.e., 120 and 40 ms) and turned out to be even more pronounced under high-perceptual-load conditions (Exps. 1 and 2). In Experiment 3, target-present or - absent decisions for brief target displays had to be made, thereby ruling out response-priming processes as a cause of the congruency effects. Nevertheless, target detection (d') was increased by congruent primes (30 % compression) in comparison to incongruent or neutral primes. Our results suggest semantic object-based auditory–visual interactions, which rapidly increase the denoted target object’s salience. This would apply, in particular, to complex visual scenes.


German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz