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Full Access The effect of brief auditory non-vocal emotional cues on visual spatial attention

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The effect of brief auditory non-vocal emotional cues on visual spatial attention

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It is well established that emotional stimuli can modulate selective spatial attention within the same modality. Recent research has shown that the emotional content of a stimulus in one modality can modify spatial attention in a separate modality (Brosch et al., 2008). So far, this effect has been shown only for emotional stimuli consisting of prosody cues, and it remains unclear how non-vocal emotional auditory cues affect visual spatial attention. The current experiment used a modified spatial cueing design to assess the effects of brief (1000 ms) non-vocal emotional (positive, negative, or neutral) auditory stimuli on visual spatial attention. Participants were required to indicate whether a visual (non-emotional) target appeared either in the left or the right visual field, after hearing a spatially non-predictive peripheral auditory cue. The auditory cue could be on the same side as the visual target (‘valid’ trial) or on the opposite side (‘invalid’ trial). Overall participants were faster to respond to visual targets that appeared on the same side as the auditory cue. Importantly, the magnitude of the cue validity effect (RT to invalid minus RT to valid cue) differed according to the emotional content of the auditory stimulus, but only for visual targets appearing in the right hemifield. Here, for non-vocal auditory signals, the cue validity effect was reduced for negative cues compared to neutral and positive stimuli, showing an opposite pattern to experiments that have reported an enhanced cue validity effect for emotional prosody stimuli (e.g., Brosch et al., 2008).

Affiliations: 1: Liverpool Hope University, GB

It is well established that emotional stimuli can modulate selective spatial attention within the same modality. Recent research has shown that the emotional content of a stimulus in one modality can modify spatial attention in a separate modality (Brosch et al., 2008). So far, this effect has been shown only for emotional stimuli consisting of prosody cues, and it remains unclear how non-vocal emotional auditory cues affect visual spatial attention. The current experiment used a modified spatial cueing design to assess the effects of brief (1000 ms) non-vocal emotional (positive, negative, or neutral) auditory stimuli on visual spatial attention. Participants were required to indicate whether a visual (non-emotional) target appeared either in the left or the right visual field, after hearing a spatially non-predictive peripheral auditory cue. The auditory cue could be on the same side as the visual target (‘valid’ trial) or on the opposite side (‘invalid’ trial). Overall participants were faster to respond to visual targets that appeared on the same side as the auditory cue. Importantly, the magnitude of the cue validity effect (RT to invalid minus RT to valid cue) differed according to the emotional content of the auditory stimulus, but only for visual targets appearing in the right hemifield. Here, for non-vocal auditory signals, the cue validity effect was reduced for negative cues compared to neutral and positive stimuli, showing an opposite pattern to experiments that have reported an enhanced cue validity effect for emotional prosody stimuli (e.g., Brosch et al., 2008).

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1. Brosch T. , Grandjean D. , Sander D. , Scherer K. R. ( 2008). "Behold the voice of wrath: Cross-modal modulation of visual attention by anger prosody", Cognition Vol 106, 14971503. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2007.05.011
http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x646802
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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x646802
2012-01-01
2016-12-09

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