This article reviews a series of experiments that combined behavioral and electrophysiological recording techniques to explore the hypothesis that salient sounds attract attention automatically and facilitate the processing of visual stimuli at the sound's location. This cross-modal capture of visual attention was found to occur even when the attracting sound was irrelevant to the ongoing task and was non-predictive of subsequent events. A slow positive component in the event-related potential (ERP) that was localized to the visual cortex was found to be closely coupled with the orienting of visual attention to a sound's location. This neural sign of visual cortex activation was predictive of enhanced perceptual processing and was paralleled by a desynchronization (blocking) of the ongoing occipital alpha rhythm. Further research is needed to determine the nature of the relationship between the slow positive ERP evoked by the sound and the alpha desynchronization and to understand how these electrophysiological processes contribute to improved visual-perceptual processing.