Visual attention modulates audiovisual speech perception

  • Tiippana K
  • Andersen T
  • Sams M
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Speech perception is audiovisual, as demonstrated by the McGurk effect in which discrepant visual speech alters the auditory speech percept. We studied the role of visual attention in audiovisual speech perception by measuring the McGurk effect in two conditions. In the baseline condition, attention was focused on the talking face. In the distracted attention condition, subjects ignored the face and attended to a visual distractor, which was a leaf moving across the face. The McGurk effect was weaker in the latter condition, indicating that visual attention modulated audiovisual speech perception. This modulation may occur at an early, unisensory processing stage, or it may be due to changes at the stage where auditory and visual information is integrated. We investigated this issue by conventional statistical testing, and by fitting the Fuzzy Logical Model of Perception (Massaro, 1998) to the results. The two methods suggested different interpretations, revealing a paradox in the current methods of analysis.

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  • K Tiippana

  • T S Andersen

  • M Sams

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