2003 volume 32(11) pages 1393 – 1402

Cite as:
Carlyon R P, Plack C J, Fantini D A, Cusack R, 2003, "Cross-modal and non-sensory influences on auditory streaming" Perception 32(11) 1393 – 1402

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Cross-modal and non-sensory influences on auditory streaming

Robert P Carlyon, Christopher J Plack, Deborah A Fantini, Rhodri Cusack

Received 20 January 2003, in revised form 6 June 2003

Abstract. Carlyon et al (2001 Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 27 115 - 127) have reported that the buildup of auditory streaming is reduced when attention is diverted to a competing auditory stimulus. Here, we demonstrate that a reduction in streaming can also be obtained by attention to a visual task or by the requirement to count backwards in threes. In all conditions participants heard a 13 s sequence of tones, and, during the first 10 s saw a sequence of visual stimuli containing three, four, or five targets. The tone sequence consisted of twenty repeating triplets in an ABA - ABA ... order, where A and B represent tones of two different frequencies. In each sequence, three, four, or five tones were amplitude modulated. During the first 10 s of the sequence, participants either counted the number of visual targets, counted the number of (modulated) auditory targets, or counted backwards in threes from a specified number. They then made an auditory-streaming judgment about the last 3 s of the tone sequence: whether one or two streams were heard. The results showed more streaming when participants counted the auditory targets (and hence were attending to the tones throughout) than in either the 'visual' or 'counting-backwards' conditions.

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