Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft

Institute of Cognitive Science

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13. August 2017 : BCI 2017 Proceedings

Multimodal integration, attention and sensory augmentation? By Wahn B and König P

Published in: Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), 2017 5th International Winter Conference on 9-11 Jan 2017. DOI: 10.1109/IWW-BCI.2017.7858148. IEEE

Human information processing is limited in capacity. Here, we investigated under which circumstances humans can better process information if they receive task-relevant sensory input via several sensory modalities compared to only one sensory modality (i.e., vision). We found that the benefits of distributing information processing across sensory modalities critically depend on task demands. That is, when information processing requires only spatial processing, distributing information processing across several sensory modalities does not lead to any performance benefits in comparison to receiving the same information only via the visual sensory modality. When information processing additionally involves the discrimination of stimulus attributes, then distributing information processing across several sensory modalities effectively circumvents processing limitations within the visual modality. Crucially, these performance benefits generalize to settings using sensory augmentation as well as a collaborative setting. Findings are potentially applicable to visually taxing real-world tasks that are either performed alone or in a group.