On audiovisual spatial synergy: the fragility of the phenomenon.


Recent literature has highlighted the importance and ubiquity of cross-modal links in spatial attention, whereby shifts in attention in one modality often induce corresponding shifts in other modalities. We attempted to provide further evidence for the case of audiovisual links during sustained endogenous attention by addressing several potential methodological confounds in previous demonstrations. However, we failed repeatedly to reproduce the phenomenon of spatial synergies between auditory and visual attention, found by Driver and Spence (1994) and frequently cited to support the automatic nature of cross-modal attention links. We discuss the results in light of recent evidence about cross-modal spatial links during sustained attention and support the idea that such links can weaken or even disappear under certain circumstances, such as during periods of sustained attention. The implication is that individuals can select inputs from different modalities from different locations more easily than previously had been thought.