Investigating Crossmodal Priming Effects: Congruent Auditory Word Primes Improve the Detection of Visual Target Objects

Angela Mahr; Tanja Schneeberger; Dirk Wentura
In: Beiträge zur 54. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen (TeaP-12), Tagung experimentell Arbeitender Psychologen, April 1-4, Mannheim, Germany, 4/2012.


We aimed to analyze causes for the Crossmodal Priming Effect, which we repeatedly found with auditory word primes/distractors and visual targets. Therefore, we used a signal detection approach to explore, whether object detection is facilitated by congruent words. A ringlike arrangement of eight different color objects was presented for 150 ms, either containing one out of four target colors (red, green, blue, and yellow) or including only filler colors. 100 ms prior to the target screen a non-informative spoken word lasting for 120 ms each (congruent, incongruent, neutral to the target color) or silence was presented via headphones. Subjects had to decide, whether one of the four targets was present or not. We received a significant main effect of semantic congruency. Congruent verbal color-cues improved target color detection in comparison with all other conditions. This confirms that congruent speech primes can automatically and crossmodally increase visual perception of objects.

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