, Volume 139, Issue 2, pp 160-167

Vision influences tactile perception at body sites that cannot be viewed directly

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Previous research has demonstrated that vision of a body site, without proprioceptive orienting of eye and head to that site, could affect tactile perception. The body site viewed was the hand, which can be seen directly under normal viewing conditions. The current research asked three further questions: First, can vision similarly affect tactile perception at a body site that cannot normally be viewed directly such as the face or neck? Second, does prior experience of seeing a body site, such as occurs when viewing the face in mirrors, produce larger effects of viewing than body sites rarely seen such as the back of the neck? And third, how quickly can visual information affect tactile target detection? We observe that: detection of tactile targets at these body sites was influenced by whether or not they were viewed, this effect was greater when viewing the more familiar site of the face than that of the neck, and significant effects were observed when the stimulus onset asynchrony between visual display and tactile target was as little as 200 ms.