Multisensory prior entry

J Exp Psychol Gen. 2001 Dec;130(4):799-832. doi: 10.1037//0096-3445.130.4.799.


Despite 2 centuries of research, the question of whether attending to a sensory modality speeds the perception of stimuli in that modality has yet to be resolved. The authors highlight weaknesses inherent in this previous research and report the results of 4 experiments in which a novel methodology was used to investigate the effects on temporal order judgments (TOJs) of attending to a particular sensory modality or spatial location. Participants were presented with pairs of visual and tactile stimuli from the left and/or right at varying stimulus onset asynchronies and were required to make unspeeded TOJs regarding which stimulus appeared first. The results provide the strongest evidence to date for the existence of multisensory prior entry and support previous claims for attentional biases toward the visual modality and toward the right side of space. These findings have important implications for studies in many areas of human and animal cognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Sensation*
  • Time Factors
  • Touch*
  • Visual Perception*