Orienting Attention in Audition and Between Audition and Vision Young and Elderly Subjects Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1992
Orienting Attention in Audition and Between Audition and Vision
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Donald A. Robin
    Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology The University of Iowa Iowa City
  • Matthew Rizzo
    Department of Neurology College of Medicine The University of Iowa Iowa City
Article Information
Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1992
Orienting Attention in Audition and Between Audition and Vision
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1992, Vol. 35, 701-707. doi:10.1044/jshr.3503.701
History: Received March 22, 1991 , Accepted September 23, 1991
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1992, Vol. 35, 701-707. doi:10.1044/jshr.3503.701
History: Received March 22, 1991; Accepted September 23, 1991

This study examined 30 young and 10 elderly subjects to test whether orienting of attention could be measured in audition. Orienting in a mixed-modal condition in which stimuli were either auditory or visual was also tested. The dependent measure was the reaction time (RT) to lateralized targets when the locations were predicted by antecedent arrow cues that were correct (valid), were incorrect (invalid), or provided no lateralizing information (neutral). A comparison between the two groups among the different conditions showed that elderly subjects had longer RTs than the younger participants, but the pattern of results was similar in both groups. In addition, a similar RT pattern was found for each modal condition: Valid trials elicited the fastest responses and invalid trials the slowest. These findings suggest that the mechanisms involved in orienting attention operate in audition and that individuals may allocate their processing resources among multiple sensory pools. Moreover, effects seen in orienting attention in audition were similar to those found in vision and are interpretable with the same types of models. Orienting attention appears to be relatively resistant to the aging process in the sample of subjects tested in this study.

The research reported here was supported in part by NIH program project #PO‐NS‐19632. We thank Martin Milder for development of the computer software used to implement the experimental paradigms. We also thank Linda N. Hug, Nancy Records, and Karalee Emrich for their assistance in data collection and reduction. We appreciate Dr. Malcolm McNeil and an anonymous reviewer who provided detailed and excellent comments and suggestions. Colleen Gardner is acknowledged for her secretarial support.
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