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Vision modulates somatosensory cortical processing

Taylor-Clarke, M; Kennett, S; Haggard, P; (2002) Vision modulates somatosensory cortical processing. Current Biology , 12 (3) pp.233 - 236.

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Abstract

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.

Type:Article
Title:Vision modulates somatosensory cortical processing
Additional information:Imported via OAI, 15:41:43 19th Jul 2007
Keywords:Vision, cortical, vision
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences

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