Spatial tuning of tactile attention modulates visual processing within hemifields: an ERP investigation of crossmodal attention
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Recent event-related brain potential (ERP) studies have revealed crossmodal links in spatial attention, but have not yet investigated differences in the spatial tuning of attention between task-relevant and irrelevant modalities. We studied the spatial distribution of attention in vision under conditions where participants were instructed to attend to the left or right-hand in order to detect infrequent targets, and to entirely ignore visual stimuli presented via LEDs at two eccentricities in the left or right hemifield. Hands were located close to two of these four LEDs in different blocks. Visual N1 amplitudes were enhanced when visual stimuli in the cued hemifield were close to the attended hand, relative to visual stimuli presented at the other location on the same side. These within-hemifield attentional modulations of visual processing demonstrate that crossmodal attention is not distributed diffusely across an entire hemifield. The spatial tuning of tactile attention transfers crossmodally to affect vision, consistent with spatial selection at a multimodal level of representation.
KeywordsAttention Crossmodal Vision Touch Event-related brain potentials
This research was supported by a Programme grant from the Medical Research Council (UK). M.E. holds a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award. The authors thank Kausar Turabi and Heijo van de Werf for technical assistance.
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