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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Development of cross‐modal processing

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Abstract The ability to process and integrate cross‐modal input is important for many everyday tasks. The current paper reviews theoretical and empirical work examining cross‐modal processing with a focus on recent findings examining infants' and children's processing of arbitrary auditory–visual pairings. The current paper puts forward a potential mechanism that may account for modality dominance effects found in a variety of cognitive tasks. The mechanism assumes that although early processing of auditory and visual input is parallel, attention is allocated in a serial manner with the modality that is faster to engage attention dominating later processing. Details of the mechanism, factors influencing processing of arbitrary auditory–visual pairings, and implications for higher‐order tasks are discussed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This article is categorized under: Psychology > Attention

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