Date of Award

Summer 2024



Embargo Period


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Cognitive Psychology

First Advisor

Heather Sheridan

Committee Members

Gregory Cox


visual search, expertise, eye tracking

Subject Categories

Cognition and Perception


Experts show performance advantages during visual search due to their extensive experience with domain-specific stimuli. Experts form memory representations for meaningful visual patterns, called chunks, that group together multiple chess features. Prior work suggests that the ability for experts to precisely encode a search template facilitates visual search performance (e.g. Hout & Goldinger, 2015). In music, expert musicians might also form chunks (see e.g., Maturi & Sheridan, 2020), although it is unclear what constitutes a chunk in music. The current study addressed the possibility that chunks are multimodal by introducing a new auditory-visual cross-modal version of the visual search paradigm introduced by Maturi and Sheridan (2020), while monitoring eye movements, comparing experts and non-musicians. Results support the idea that chunks are possibly multimodal in music: compared to non-musicians, experts had higher accuracy which was magnified in the cross-modal condition, indicating experts' performance advantages. In addition, compared to non-musicians, experts had longer dwell times in the target region for the cross-modal condition only, suggesting that experts fixate in more relevant regions and are successfully integrating auditory information into visual information, and that process takes time.


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