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The Effect of a Concurrent Working Memory Task and Temporal Offsets on the Integration of Auditory and Visual Speech Information

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image of Seeing and Perceiving
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Spatial Vision.

Audiovisual speech perception is an everyday occurrence of multisensory integration. Conflicting visual speech information can influence the perception of acoustic speech (namely the McGurk effect), and auditory and visual speech are integrated over a rather wide range of temporal offsets. This research examined whether the addition of a concurrent cognitive load task would affect the audiovisual integration in a McGurk speech task and whether the cognitive load task would cause more interference at increasing offsets. The amount of integration was measured by the proportion of responses in incongruent trials that did not correspond to the audio (McGurk response). An eye-tracker was also used to examine whether the amount of temporal offset and the presence of a concurrent cognitive load task would influence gaze behavior. Results from this experiment show a very modest but statistically significant decrease in the number of McGurk responses when subjects also perform a cognitive load task, and that this effect is relatively constant across the various temporal offsets. Participant’s gaze behavior was also influenced by the addition of a cognitive load task. Gaze was less centralized on the face, less time was spent looking at the mouth and more time was spent looking at the eyes, when a concurrent cognitive load task was added to the speech task.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Queen’s University, 62 Arch St., Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6 Canada


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