Social relevance modulates multisensory integration

Meike Scheller* (Corresponding Author), Jie Sui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


When interacting with the environment, humans exhibit robust biases towards information that pertains to themselves: Self-relevant information is processed faster and yields more accurate responses than information linked to others. Recent studies have shown that simple social associations can lead to the instant deployment of this benefit in the processing of abstract stimuli. However, how self-prioritization evolves across the processing hierarchy has been a subject of intense debate. Furthermore, there is little empirical evidence about the functional efficiency of social relevance in natural environments in which information is present across multiple senses. Across three experiments (each n = 40), the present study shows that self-prioritization effects (1) can arise in simple audio-visual numerosity judgements, (2) can be efficiently deployed across the senses by funnelling perception towards self-relevant information in the more reliable sensory modality, and (3) modulates the integration of auditory and visual information into a multisensory representation. Taken together, the present findings suggest that social salience can influence multisensory processing at both perceptual and post-perceptual stages via early attentional modulations of sensory integration and later, task-dependent attentional control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1038
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number9
Early online date21 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2019-010).

Data Availability Statement

The study materials are available on the Open Science Framework (OSF), and can be accessed here:


  • Self-prioritization
  • Multisensory integration
  • Cross-modal processing
  • Social relevance
  • Information processing


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