Does the ventriloquist illusion assist selective listening?

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Jack, BN, O'Shea, RP, Cottrell, D & Ritter, W 2013, 'Does the ventriloquist illusion assist selective listening?', Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, vol. 39, no. 5, pp.11496-1502.

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Driver (1996) reported that the ventriloquist illusion can enhance selective listening of speech. Participants in his study listened to target and distractor words from a single loudspeaker while watching lip movements of the target words on a video monitor either above the loudspeaker or displaced to the left or right. He found that participants were more accurate in repeating the target words when the video was displaced from the loudspeaker than when the video was directly above the loudspeaker. Driver proposed that the ventriloquist illusion dragged the target sounds toward the location of the lip movements, freeing them from interference from the distractor words. However, successful attempts at replicating this finding are rare (we know of only three successful replications from 19 attempts). In five experiments, we found a weak advantage for selective listening from displaced lip movements only when there was a convincing ventriloquist illusion. We conclude that the ventriloquist illusion is necessary to confer the advantage for selective listening from displaced lip movements but that the phenomenon is a fleeting one at best.

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