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

Article


Forster, B., Tziraki, M. and Jones, A. 2016. The attentive homunculus: ERP evidence for somatotopic allocation of attention in tactile search. Neuropsychologia. 84, pp. 158-166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.02.009
TypeArticle
TitleThe attentive homunculus: ERP evidence for somatotopic allocation of attention in tactile search
AuthorsForster, B., Tziraki, M. and Jones, A.
Abstract

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.

KeywordsSomatosensory system; Tactile attention ; Tactile search ; Attentional selection; Body
LanguageEnglish
PublisherElsevier
JournalNeuropsychologia
ISSN0028-3932
Electronic1873-3514
Publication dates
Online17 Feb 2016
Print01 Apr 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Mar 2016
Accepted15 Feb 2016
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
License
Copyright Statement

© 2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Additional information

Available online 17 February 2016

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.02.009
Web of Science identifierWOS:000374602400017
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