Orienting attention in audition and between audition and vision: Young and elderly subjects

D. A. Robin, M. Rizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-707
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Speech and Hearing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992


  • age-related attentional changes
  • attention
  • mixed-modal processing
  • orienting auditory attention
  • resource allocation in audition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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