Poster F6, Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
The size of the focus of attention in touch: evidence from event related potentials
Elena Gherri1; 1University of Edinburgh
Processing efficiency in the visual domain decreases as the focus of attention becomes broader. A broader focus of attention requires increased cognitive resources which results in slower responses to targets as compared to tasks in which the focus of attention is narrower. No study to date has directly investigated whether analogous differences between a broad and a narrow focus of attention can be observed in touch. To investigate whether attentional modulations of tactile processing are modulated by the size of the attentional focus, event related potentials were recorded during two spatial cuing tasks in which the cue directed attention to two possible target locations on the same arm (broad task) or the exact target location (narrow task). ERP results revealed an earlier locus of tactile attention in the narrow as compared to the broad task during sensory specific stages of processing. At post-perceptual stages, stronger attentional modulations were present in the narrow as compared to the broad task. Behavioural results revealed that the narrow task was more demanding than the broad one. Taken together these results suggest that in the tactile domain focusing attention on narrower portion of the body surface is more demanding than spreading attention across a larger body area.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Spatial