An event-related potential study of supramodal attentional control and crossmodal attention effects


  • This research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, and the Canada Research Chairs program.

Address reprint requests to: Jessica Green or John McDonald, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada. E-mail: (J.J.G.) or (J.J.M.).


We conducted two audiovisual experiments to determine whether event-related potential (ERP) components elicited by attention-directing cues reflect supramodal attentional control. Symbolic visual cues were used to direct attention prior to auditory targets in Experiment 1, and symbolic auditory cues were used to direct attention prior to visual targets in Experiment 2. Different patterns of cue ERPs were found in the two experiments. A frontal negativity called the ADAN was absent in Experiment 2, which indicates that this component does not reflect supramodal attentional control. A posterior positivity called the LDAP was observed in both experiments but was focused more posteriorly over the occipital scalp in Experiment 2. This component appears to reflect multiple processes, including visual processes involved in location marking and target preparation as well as supramodal processes involved in attentional control.