Do simultaneously presented visual and auditory stimuli attract our attention? The effect of divided attention on memory
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Attending to multiple stimuli is something that we do every day, but if the stimuli are presented simultaneously, how is our attention directed and how much information can we comprehend? We investigated how comprehension of information was affected when auditory and visual stimuli were presented simultaneously and when attention was directed to one stimulus. Participants were required to attend to either auditory or visual stimuli (Required Attention) with either consistent or inconsistent information (Consistency), and the participants’ test scores were measured. The comprehension of information was significantly lower when the information was inconsistent, but there was no difference between auditory and visual required attention conditions on test scores. Also, no significant interaction was found between Required Attention and Consistency. The results suggest that when delivering inconsistent multiple stimuli, attention is divided and information is less likely to be processed effectively. Possible practices are proposed to improve comprehension and attention.