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Is the Colavita effect an exclusively visual phenomenon?

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Occelli, V., Hartcher-O'Brien, J., Spence, C., & Zampini, M. (2008). Is the Colavita effect an exclusively visual phenomenon?. Poster presented at 9th International Multisensory Research Forum (IMRF 2008), Hamburg, Germany.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-C869-A
Previous studies have demonstrated that people often fail to report one component of bimodal targets in a speeded response task setting: Participants respond preferentially to the visual component of audiovisual (Koppen Spence, 2007) or visuotactile (Hartcher O’Brien et al., 2008) stimulus pairs. The present study was designed to investigate whether this phenomenon (known as the “Colavita effect”) would extend to the audiotactile modality pairing as well. Participants had to make speeded detection responses to brief unimodal auditory, unimodal tactile or bimodal audiotactile suprathreshold stimuli. Although participants failed to respond correctly in the bimodal trials more often than in the unimodal trials, no imbalance between audition and touch was observed (i.e., participants did not preferentially respond to either auditory or tactile sensory components of the bimodal stimuli). The performance of both naïve and non-naïve participants showed the same pattern of results (Exp.1). The null effect was still observed when different kinds of auditory stimuli (pure tones vs. white noise bursts; Exp.2) were used, and when differing stimulus intensities were presented (Exp.3). These results therefore suggest that the Colavita effect exclusively affects modality pairings involving vision, thus confirming this effect as one of the most striking demonstration of visual dominance over other sensory modalities.