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Visual processing speed: effects of auditory input on visual processing


Address for correspondence: Vladimir M. Sloutsky or Christopher W. Robinson, Center for Cognitive Science, Ohio Stadium East, 1961 Tuttle Park Place, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA; e-mail: or


The ability to process simultaneously presented auditory and visual information is a necessary component underlying many cognitive tasks. While this ability is often taken for granted, there is evidence that under many conditions auditory input attenuates processing of corresponding visual input. The current study investigated infants’ processing of visual input under unimodal and cross-modal conditions. Results of the three reported experiments indicate that different auditory input had different effects on infants’ processing of visual information. In particular, unfamiliar auditory input slowed down visual processing, whereas more familiar auditory input did not. These results elucidate mechanisms underlying auditory overshadowing in the course of cross-modal processing and have implications on a variety of cognitive tasks that depend on cross-modal processing.