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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X


BUENO, V.F.  and  RIBEIRO-DO-VALLE, L.E.. Facilitatory effects of an auditory warning stimulus in a visual location identification task and a visual shape identification task. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2012, vol.45, n.11, pp.1037-1044.  Epub Aug 30, 2012 ISSN 1414-431X.

The occurrence of a weak auditory warning stimulus increases the speed of the response to a subsequent visual target stimulus that must be identified. This facilitatory effect has been attributed to the temporal expectancy automatically induced by the warning stimulus. It has not been determined whether this results from a modulation of the stimulus identification process, the response selection process or both. The present study examined these possibilities. A group of 12 young adults performed a reaction time location identification task and another group of 12 young adults performed a reaction time shape identification task. A visual target stimulus was presented 1850 to 2350 ms plus a fixed interval (50, 100, 200, 400, 800, or 1600 ms, depending on the block) after the appearance of a fixation point, on its left or right side, above or below a virtual horizontal line passing through it. In half of the trials, a weak auditory warning stimulus (S1) appeared 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, or 1600 ms (according to the block) before the target stimulus (S2). Twelve trials were run for each condition. The S1 produced a facilitatory effect for the 200, 400, 800, and 1600 ms stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA) in the case of the side stimulus-response (S-R) corresponding condition, and for the 100 and 400 ms SOA in the case of the side S-R non-corresponding condition. Since these two conditions differ mainly by their response selection requirements, it is reasonable to conclude that automatic temporal expectancy influences the response selection process.

Keywords : Expectancy; Time course; Priming; Auditory temporal processing; Visual form processing; Reaction time.

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