Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The phenomenon of attentional capture has typically been studied in spatial search tasks. Dalton and Lavie recently demonstrated that auditory attention can also be captured by a singleton item in a rapidly presented tone sequence. In the experiments reported here, we investigated whether these findings extend cross-modally to sequential search tasks using audiovisual stimuli. Participants searched a stream of centrally presented audiovisual stimuli for targets defined on a particular dimension (e.g., duration) in a particular modality. Task performance was compared in the presence versus absence of a unique singleton distractor. Irrelevant auditory singletons captured attention during visual search tasks, leading to interference when they coincided with distractors but to facilitation when they coincided with targets. These results demonstrate attentional capture by auditory singletons during nonspatial visual search.


Journal article


Percept Psychophys

Publication Date





422 - 438


Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Auditory Perception, Exploratory Behavior, Female, Humans, Male, Visual Perception