The attentive homunculus: ERP evidence for somatotopic allocation of attention in tactile search

Forster, Bettina, Tziraki, Maria and Jones, Alexander ORCID logoORCID: (2016) The attentive homunculus: ERP evidence for somatotopic allocation of attention in tactile search. Neuropsychologia, 84 . pp. 158-166. ISSN 0028-3932 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.02.009)

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Our brain constantly receives tactile information from the body’s surface.We often only become aware of this information when directing our attention towards the body. Here, we report a study investigating the behavioural and neural response when selecting a target amongst distractor vibrations presented simultaneously to several locations either across the hands or body. Comparable visual search studies have revealed the N2pc as the neural correlate of visual selective attention. Analogously, we describe an enhanced negativity contralateral to the tactile target side. This effect is strongest over somatosensory areas and lasts approximately 200 ms from the onset of the somatosensory N140 ERP component. Based on these characteristics we named this electrophysiological signature of attentional tactile target selection during tactile search the N140-central-contralateral (N140cc). Furthermore, we present supporting evince that the N140cc reflects attentional enhancement of target rather than suppression of distractor locations; the component was not reliably altered by distractor but rather by target location changes. Taken together, our findings present a novel electrophysiological marker of tactile search and show how attentional selection of touch operates by mainly enhancing task relevant locations within the somatosensory homunculus.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Available online 17 February 2016
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 18936
Notes on copyright: © 2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
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Depositing User: Alexander Jones
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2016 11:01
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2022 00:43

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