The influence of synchronous audiovisual distractors on audiovisual temporal order judgments.
Vatakis A., Bayliss L., Zampini M., Spence C.
Participants made unspeeded temporal order judgments (TOJs) regarding which occurred first, anauditory or a visual target stimulus, when they were presented at a variety of different stimulus onset asynchronies. The target stimuli were presented either in isolation or positioned randomly among a stream of three synchronous audiovisual distractors. The largest just noticeable differences were reported when the targets were presented in the middle of the distractor stream. When the targets were presented at the beginning of the stream, performance was no worse than when the audiovisual targets were presented in isolation. Subsequent experiments revealed that performance improved somewhat when the position of the target was fixed or when the target was made physically distinctive from the distractors. These results show that audiovisual TOJs are impaired by the presence of audiovisual distractors and that this cost can be ameliorated by directing attention to the appropriate temporal position within the stimulus stream.