When far is near: ERP correlates of crossmodal spatial interactions between tactile and mirror-reflected visual stimuli

Sambo, C.F. & Forster, B. (2011). When far is near: ERP correlates of crossmodal spatial interactions between tactile and mirror-reflected visual stimuli. NEUROSCIENCE LETTERS, 500(1), pp. 10-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.05.233

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Visuo-tactile integration occurs in a privileged way in peripersonal space, namely when visual and tactile stimuli are in spatial proximity. Here, we investigated whether crossmodal spatial effects (i.e. stronger crossmodal interactions for spatially congruent compared to incongruent visual and tactile stimuli) are also present when visual stimuli presented near the body are indirectly viewed in a mirror, thus appearing in far space. Participants had to attend to one of their hands throughout a block of stimuli in order to detect infrequent tactile target stimuli at that hand while ignoring tactile targets at the unattended hand, all tactile non-target stimuli, and any visual stimuli. Visual stimuli were presented simultaneously with tactile stimuli, in the same (congruent) or opposite (incongruent) hemispace with respect to the tactile stimuli. In one group of participants the visual stimuli were delivered near the participants’ hands and were observed as indirect mirror reflections (‘mirror’ condition), while in the other group these were presented at a distance from the hands (‘far’ condition). The main finding was that crossmodal spatial modulations of ERPs recorded over and close to somatosensory cortex were present in the ‘mirror’ condition but not the ‘far’ condition. That is, ERPs were enhanced in response to tactile stimuli coupled with spatially congruent versus incongruent visual stimuli when the latter were viewed through a mirror. These effects emerged around 190 ms after stimuli onset, and were modulated by the focus of spatial attention. These results provide evidence that visual stimuli observed in far space via a mirror are coded as near-thebody stimuli according to their known rather than to their perceived location. This suggests
that crossmodal interactions between vision and touch may be modulated by previous knowledge of reflecting surfaces (i.e. top-down processing).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Neuroscience Letters. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in NEUROSCIENCE LETTERS, VOL 500, ISSUE 1, August 2001 DOI 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.05.233
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Neurosciences, Neurosciences & Neurology, NEUROSCIENCES, Event-related potentials, Mirror, Peripersonal space, Visuo-tactile, VENTRAL INTRAPARIETAL AREA, PERIPERSONAL SPACE, TOOL-USE, TOUCH, REPRESENTATION, INTEGRATION, MACAQUE, VISION, BODY, MONKEY
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/4564

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