Brendan Rabideau

Major and Classification

Philosophy and Neuroscience

Faculty Mentor

Stephen Madigan, Ph.D.


Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

McNair Project

“Temporal effects on the binding of auditory and visual modalities in working memory”

Project Abstract

Much remains unknown about the multimodal processing associated with the episodic buffer in the Baddeley model of working memory. This study investigates the ways in which the time delays between the presentation of auditory and visual stimuli affect the ways in which we bind, store, and recall information from these two different modalities in working memory. Using an audio/visual digit span display with a varying time delay between the presentation of stimuli, and a backwards serial recall test, this study attempted to pinpoint the amount of time required between the presentation of two stimuli of different modalities before the improved recall brought about by the multimodal effect (Logie et al., 2000), (Baddeley, 2000) & (Delogu et al., 2009) disappeared. Results of the study were inconclusive, with no statistical difference found between bimodal and monomodal presentation, and no significant change in the standard serial position curve due to temporal differences in stimuli presentation. Much of this can be attributed to the experimental design, which created high variance between the participants. Nonetheless, the results suggest that an alternative interpretation for the multimodal effect may be required. This study puts forth the argument that a distinction should be drawn between stimuli with concrete linguistic and semantic properties, and those without.