Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Yoav Arieh

Committee Member

Paul Amrhein

Committee Member

Jennifer Pardo


The ventriloquist effect refers to the well-documented mislocalization of auditory targets that occurs when a spatially incongruent visual cue is simultaneously presented, generally towards the location of the visual cue. Spatial release from masking refers to the improvement in auditory detection that occurs when an auditory target is moved away from a noise source. The purpose of the present thesis was to induce cross-modal spatial release from masking using a ventriloquized visual cue. Two experiments were conducted to determine whether this visually induced mislocalization can cause spatial release from masking and enhance target detection. In the first experiment, spatial release from masking was demonstrated using a signal detection experimental methodology. Participants showed better detection sensitivity for target tones that were spatially removed from the noise source along a horizontal plane than for tones that originated coincident to the noise source. In the second experiment, visual cues were paired with the target tones at locations that either matched or mismatched the spatial location of the target tone. The presence of simultaneous yet spatially separate visual cues enhanced overall detection sensitivity for the target tones in the noise-present condition, demonstrating cross-modal spatial release from masking. Implications for the results are considered in the context of the perceptual origins for the ventriloquist effect.

File Format


Included in

Psychology Commons