Eye-movements intervening between two successive sounds disrupt comparisons of auditory location.
Pavani F., Husain M., Driver J.
Many studies have investigated how saccades may affect the internal representation of visual locations across eye-movements. Here, we studied, instead, whether eye-movements can affect auditory spatial cognition. In two experiments, participants judged the relative azimuth (same/different) of two successive sounds presented from a horizontal array of loudspeakers, separated by a 2.5-s delay. Eye-position was either held constant throughout the trial (being directed in a fixed manner to the far left or right of the loudspeaker array) or had to be shifted to the opposite side of the array during the retention delay between the two sounds, after the first sound but before the second. Loudspeakers were either visible (Experiment 1) or occluded from sight (Experiment 2). In both cases, shifting eye-position during the silent delay-period affected auditory performance in thn the successive auditory comparison task, even though the auditory inputs to be judged were equivalent. Sensitivity (d') for the auditory discrimination was disrupted, specifically when the second sound shifted in the opposite direction to the intervening eye-movement with respect to the first sound. These results indicate that eye-movements affect internal representation of auditory location.