Bimodal and trimodal multisensory enhancement: effects of stimulus onset and intensity on reaction time

Percept Psychophys. 2004 Nov;66(8):1388-404. doi: 10.3758/bf03195006.


Manual reaction times to visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli presented simultaneously, or with a delay, were measured to test for multisensory interaction effects in a simple detection task with redundant signals. Responses to trimodal stimulus combinations were faster than those to bimodal combinations, which in turn were faster than reactions to unimodal stimuli. Response enhancement increased with decreasing auditory and tactile stimulus intensity and was a U-shaped function of stimulus onset asynchrony. Distribution inequality tests indicated that the multisensory interaction effects were larger than predicted by separate activation models, including the difference between bimodal and trimodal response facilitation. The results are discussed with respect to previous findings in a focused attention task and are compared with multisensory integration rules observed in bimodal and trimodal superior colliculus neurons in the cat and monkey.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Psychophysics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reaction Time*
  • Space Perception
  • Visual Perception*