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Lost in vision: ERP correlates of exogenous tactile attention when engaging in a visual task

Jones, A. & Forster, B. (2013). Lost in vision: ERP correlates of exogenous tactile attention when engaging in a visual task. NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA, 51(4), pp. 675-685. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.01.010


Behavioural studies have shown that when engaging in a visual task response facilitation to tactile stimuli at exogenously cued locations is diminished. Here we investigated behavioural and also neural correlates of tactile exogenous attention when participants either watched a visual stream (single task) or also detected targets in the visual stream (dual task). During the visual stream, tactile cues were presented to the left or right hand followed by tactile targets at the same or opposite hand. Behavioural results demonstrated slowed responses to tactile targets at cued locations (i.e., IOR) in the single whilst no attention effect in the dual task. Concurrently recorded EEG revealed multiple stages of tactile processing to be attenuated when engaging in a visual task: First, the amplitude of the cueelicited somatosensory P100 component was suppressed suggesting relative early cross-modality effects in the dual task. Second, correlates of cue-induced attentional control processes showed a reduced late somatosensory negativity (LSN) in the dual compared to the single task suggesting smaller preparatory processes. Finally, early attentional selection correlates of post-target ERPs (N80) were absent in the dual task. This study demonstrated for the first time that engaging in a visual task abolished behavioural IOR in touch. ERP analyses showed that early somatosensory processing as well as specific correlates of tactile attentional orienting and target selection are diminished under visual engagement. Our findings are in line with a supramodal account of attention.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Neuropsychologia. 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 NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA, VOL 51, ISSUE 4, March 2013 DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.01.010
Publisher Keywords: Science & Technology, Social Sciences, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Behavioral Sciences, Neurosciences, Psychology, Experimental, Neurosciences & Neurology, Psychology, BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, NEUROSCIENCES, PSYCHOLOGY, EXPERIMENTAL, Tactile, Exogenous attention, Visual engagement, Inhibition of return, ERPs, Crossmodal, EVENT-RELATED POTENTIALS, SUSTAINED SPATIAL ATTENTION, SELECTIVE ATTENTION, PERCEPTUAL LOAD, MAGNETIC-FIELDS, SOMATOSENSORY SYSTEM, REFLEXIVE ATTENTION, MEDIAN NERVE, INHIBITION, RETURN
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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