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Title: Seeing the light: an exploration of the Colavita dominance effect
Author: Koppen, Camille
ISNI:       0000 0001 3601 850X
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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The Colavita effect provides a remarkable example of visual dominance, demonstrating that a visual stimulus can dominate a person's perception to such an extent that, on occasion, it appears to extinguish their perception of (or at least their ability to respond to) a concurrently-presented auditory stimulus. The aim of the experiments reported in this thesis was to investigate some of the key factors contributing to the Colavita visual dominance effect in order to gain a deeper understanding of its causes. The main findings reported in this thesis were that the Colavita visual dominance effect reflects a perceptually-based phenomenon (see Chapters 2, 3, and 8), and is modulated by the modality to which participants endogenously and/or exogenously attend (Chapter 4), and the stimulus that they perceived first (Chapter 5). The spatial and temporal separation between the auditory and visual stimuli both appear to modulate the Colavita effect (Chapters 5 and 6), however, the semantic congruency between them does not appear to affect the magnitude of the Colavita effect that emerges (Chapter 7). An explanation is put forward that describes the Colavita effect as follows: Participants' tendency to endogenously and/or exogenously direct their attention toward the visual modality results in the delayed perception of the auditory component of the bimodal stimulus. The auditory stimulus may therefore sometimes arrive at the primary stage of stimulus processing during the attentional dwell time of the visual stimulus. This may result in a difficulty in the consolidation and conscious report of the auditory stimulus because the processing of the visual stimulus temporarily occupies the participant's limited-capacity attentional resources, thus resulting in the decay of the information concerning the auditory stimulus. The empirical findings reported in this thesis advance several important conclusions regarding the mechanism of the Colavita effect which, in tum, may contribute toward a greater understanding of the wider area of visual dominance, and could also provide a potential springboard for the study of crossmodal extinction in normal participants.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Oxford University, 2008 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available