Background: Visual capture is an important perceptual phenomenon in which the spatial location of a visual target influences the perceived location of a related auditory target. Little is known about visual capture in a distance dimension.
Methods: Two groups of listeners judged the apparent distances of five loudspeaker sound sources, extending from 1 to 5 m. In one group, each listener was allowed to view the loudspeaker array. In the second group, listeners were blindfolded for the duration of the experiment.
Results: No visual capture effects were observed. Instead, the addition of vision was found to both improve distance judgment accuracy and lower judgment variability compared with the auditory-only stimulus. Auditory-only accuracy was found to substantially improve over the course of the experiment, however.
Conclusions: Visual capture in distance is perhaps less general than suggested by past research, a result that has important implications for the display of spatial layout under conditions where vision is either missing or degraded.