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Vision Modulates Somatosensory Cortical Processing

Taylor-Clarke, Marisa and Kennett, Steffan and Haggard, Patrick (2002) 'Vision Modulates Somatosensory Cortical Processing.' Current Biology, 12 (3). pp. 233-236. ISSN 0960-9822

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Over 150 years ago, E.H. Weber [1] declared that experience showed that tactile acuity was not affected by viewing the stimulated body part. However, more recent investigations suggest that cross-modal links do exist between the senses [2]. Viewing the stimulated body site improves performance on tactile discrimination [3] and detection tasks [4, 5] and enhances tactile acuity [6]. Here, we show that vision modulates somatosensory cortex activity, as measured by somatosensory event-related potentials (ERPs). This modulation is greatest when tactile stimulation is task relevant. Visual modulation is not present in the P50 component reflecting the primary afferent input to the cortex but appears in the subsequent N80 component, which has also been localized to SI, the primary somatosensory cortex [7]. Furthermore, we replicate previous findings [6] that noninformative vision improves spatial acuity. These results are consistent with a hypothesis that vision modulates cortical processing of tactile stimuli via back projections from multimodal cortical areas. Several neurophysiological studies suggest that primary and secondary somatosensory cortex (SI and SII, respectively) activity can be modulated by spatial and tactile attention [8, 9] and by visual cues [10]. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of direct modulation of somatosensory cortex activity by a noninformative view of the stimulated body site with concomitant enhancement of tactile acuity in normal subjects.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Somatosensory Cortex; Humans; Physical Stimulation; Photic Stimulation; Cues; Touch; Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory; Adult; Middle Aged; Vision, Ocular; Feedback, Physiological
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2015 20:40
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 10:53

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