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Neurosci Lett. 2009 Jan 23;450(1):60-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.11.002. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Poke and pop: tactile-visual synchrony increases visual saliency.

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  • 1Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The majority of studies investigating interactions between vision and touch have typically explored single events, presenting one object at a time. The present study investigates how tactile-visual interactions affect competition between multiple visual objects in more dynamic cluttered environments. Participants searched for a horizontal or vertical line segment among distractor line segments of various orientations, all continuously changing color. Search times and search slopes were substantially reduced when the target color change was accompanied by a tactile signal. These benefits were observed even though the tactile signal was uninformative about the location, orientation, or color of the visual target. We conclude that tactile-visual synchrony guides attention in multiple object environments by increasing the saliency of the visual event.

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