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Psychon Bull Rev. 2003 Mar;10(1):210-9.

Principles of cross-modal competition: evidence from deficits of attention.

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  • 1Department of Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA.


How does the attentional system coordinate the processing of stimuli presented simultaneously to different sensory modalities? We investigated this question with individuals with neurological damage who suffered from deficits of attention. In these individuals, we examined how the processing of tactile stimuli is affected by the simultaneous presentation of visual or auditory stimuli. The investigation demonstrated that two stimuli from different modalities are in competition when attention is directed to the perceptual attributes of both, but not when attention is directed to the perceptual attributes of one and the semantic attributes of the other. These findings reveal a differentiated attentional system in which competition is modulated by the level of stimulus representation to which attention is directed.

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