Crossmodal Links in Attention in the Driving Environment: The Roles of Cueing Modality, Signal Timing, and Workload Conference Paper uri icon


  • Multimodal information presentation has been proposed as a means to support timesharing in complex data-rich environments. To ensure the effectiveness of this approach, it is necessary to consider performance effects of recently discovered crossmodal spatial and temporal links in attention, as well as their interaction with other performance-shaping factors. The main goals of this research were to confirm that performance effects of crossmodal links in spatial attention scale to complex environments and to examine how these effects vary as a function of cue modality, signal timing, and workload. In the present study, set in a driving simulation, spatially valid and invalid auditory and tactile cues preceded the presentation of visual targets at various stimulus-onset asynchronies and under different levels of workload induced by simulated wind gusts of varied intensity. The findings from this experiment confirm that visual target identification accuracies and response times are, overall, more accurate and faster when validlycued. Significant interactions were found between cue validity, stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA), and cue modality, such that valid tactile cueing is most beneficial at shorter (100-200 ms) SOAs, while valid auditory cueing resulted in faster responses than invalid cueing at 500 ms SOAs, but slower responses at 1000 ms SOAs. Tactile error rates were significantly higher than auditory error rates at various interactions of modality and SOA. These findings were robust across all workload conditions. They highlight the need for context-sensitive information presentation and can inform the design of multimodal interfaces for a wide range of application domains.

author list (cited authors)

  • Tilak, R., Xholi, I., Schowalter, D., Ferris, T., Hameed, S., & Sarter, N.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • September 2008