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Keywords:

  • audio-visual integration;
  • audition;
  • response latencies;
  • saccadic eye movements;
  • vision

Abstract

This study examined how effectively visual and auditory cues can be integrated in the brain for the generation of motor responses. The latencies with which saccadic eye movements are produced in humans and monkeys form, under certain conditions, a bimodal distribution, the first mode of which has been termed express saccades. In humans, a much higher percentage of express saccades is generated when both visual and auditory cues are provided compared with the single presentation of these cues [H. C. Hughes et al. (1994) J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform., 20, 131–153]. In this study, we addressed two questions: first, do monkeys also integrate visual and auditory cues for express saccade generation as do humans and second, does such integration take place in humans when, instead of eye movements, the task is to press levers with fingers? Our results show that (i) in monkeys, as in humans, the combined visual and auditory cues generate a much higher percentage of express saccades than do singly presented cues and (ii) the latencies with which levers are pressed by humans are shorter when both visual and auditory cues are provided compared with the presentation of single cues, but the distribution in all cases is unimodal; response latencies in the express range seen in the execution of saccadic eye movements are not obtained with lever pressing.