Auditory psychomotor coordination and visual search performance

Percept Psychophys. 1990 Sep;48(3):214-26. doi: 10.3758/bf03211521.


In Experiments 1 and 2, the time to locate and identify a visual target (visual search performance in a two-alternative forced-choice paradigm) was measured as a function of the location of the target relative to the subject's initial line of gaze. In Experiment 1, tests were conducted within a 260 degree region on the horizontal plane at a fixed elevation (eye level). In Experiment 2, the position of the target was varied in both the horizontal (260 degrees) and the vertical (+/- 46 degrees from the initial line of gaze) planes. In both experiments, and for all locations tested, the time required to conduct a visual search was reduced substantially (175-1,200 msec) when a 10-Hz click train was presented from the same location as that occupied by the visual target. Significant differences in latencies were still evident when the visual target was located within 10 degrees of the initial line of gaze (central visual field). In Experiment 3, we examined head and eye movements that occur as subjects attempt to locate a sound source. Concurrent movements of the head and eyes are commonly encountered during auditorily directed search behavior. In over half of the trials, eyelid closures were apparent as the subjects attempted to orient themselves toward the sound source. The results from these experiments support the hypothesis that the auditory spatial channel has a significant role in regulating visual gaze.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Reaction Time
  • Sound Localization*