Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Mitchell, Derek G.V.


Sensory information can both impair and enhance low-level visual feature processing, and this can be significantly modulated depending on the whether this information matches the visual sensory modality. Emotionally significant visual and auditory stimuli can have opposing effects on attention. While task-irrelevant emotionally salient visual stimuli can often impair task attention, task-irrelevant emotionally salient auditory stimuli have been shown to enhance aspects of attention. To date, no study has directly compared how emotionally salient information presented to different sensory modalities can affect low-level vision. Using Gabor patches of differing contrasts to measure the threshold of visual perception, we hypothesized that emotionally salient visual stimuli would impair low-level vision, while emotionally salient auditory stimuli would enhance low-level vision. We found that sensory modulation may be dependant on matched sensory domain presentation, as visual emotional stimuli impaired low-level vision, but emotional auditory stimuli did not affect low-level vision.