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Full Access Product-related sounds speed visual search

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Product-related sounds speed visual search

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Searching for a particular product in a supermarket can be a challenging business. The question therefore arises as to whether cues from the shopper’s other senses can be used to facilitate, guide, or bias visual search toward a particular product or product type. Prior research suggests that characteristic sounds can facilitate visual object localization (Iordanescu et al., 2008, 2010). Extending these findings to an applied setting, we investigated whether product-related sounds would facilitate visual search for products from different categories (e.g., champagne, potato crisps, deodorant) when arranged on a virtual shelf. On each trial, participants were visually presented with the name of a target product and then located the target within a virtual shelf display containing pictures of four different products (randomly selected from a set of nine). The visual display was randomly accompanied by a target-congruent, a target-incongruent, an unrelated, or no sound. Congruent sounds were semantically related to the target (e.g., uncorking a champagne bottle), incongruent sounds were related to the product shown in the corner opposite to the target, and unrelated sounds did not correspond to any of the products shown in the display. Participants found the target product significantly faster when the sound was congruent rather than incongruent with the target. All other pairwise comparisons were non-significant. These results extend the facilitatory crossmodal effect of characteristic sounds on visual search performance described earlier to the more realistic context of a virtual shelf display, showing that characteristic sounds can crossmodally enhance the visual processing of actual products.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, GB

Searching for a particular product in a supermarket can be a challenging business. The question therefore arises as to whether cues from the shopper’s other senses can be used to facilitate, guide, or bias visual search toward a particular product or product type. Prior research suggests that characteristic sounds can facilitate visual object localization (Iordanescu et al., 2008, 2010). Extending these findings to an applied setting, we investigated whether product-related sounds would facilitate visual search for products from different categories (e.g., champagne, potato crisps, deodorant) when arranged on a virtual shelf. On each trial, participants were visually presented with the name of a target product and then located the target within a virtual shelf display containing pictures of four different products (randomly selected from a set of nine). The visual display was randomly accompanied by a target-congruent, a target-incongruent, an unrelated, or no sound. Congruent sounds were semantically related to the target (e.g., uncorking a champagne bottle), incongruent sounds were related to the product shown in the corner opposite to the target, and unrelated sounds did not correspond to any of the products shown in the display. Participants found the target product significantly faster when the sound was congruent rather than incongruent with the target. All other pairwise comparisons were non-significant. These results extend the facilitatory crossmodal effect of characteristic sounds on visual search performance described earlier to the more realistic context of a virtual shelf display, showing that characteristic sounds can crossmodally enhance the visual processing of actual products.

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1. Iordanescu L. , Guzman-Martinez E. , Grabowecky M. , Suzuki S. ( 2008). "Characteristic sounds facilitate visual search", Psychonomic Bulletin & Review Vol 15( 3), 548554. http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/PBR.15.3.548
2. Iordanescu L. , Grabowecky M. , Franconeri S. , Theeuwes J. , Suzuki S. ( 2010). "Characteristic sounds make you look at target objects more quickly", Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics Vol 72( 7), 17361741. http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/APP.72.7.1736
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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x648224
2012-01-01
2016-12-03

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