|MadSci Network: Neuroscience|
John, Yes, there do seem to be differences in the relative strengths of visual and auditory stimuli. One area where this is evident is in ventriloquism. The auditory stimuli (the ventriloquist's speech) would lead an observer to determine that the sound is coming from the ventriloquist. However, the visual information (the mouth and body movements of the puppet) typically "win" over the auditory information. The result is a strong perception that the puppet is speaking! There have been a number of scientific studies on the "ventriloquist effect". Many of them are summarized in this book: Advances in psychological science, Vol. 2: Biological and cognitive aspects. Sabourin, Craik, et-al. (1998). Psychology Press/Erlbaum. One interesting finding is that for spatial tasks (where a subject indicates where a stimulus is coming from) vision tends to win. However, audition is more likely to win when the task is more closely related to temporal (timing) information. If you have more questions, feel free to email me directly. Lori Holt
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