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Visual Influence on Tactile Localization

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83920

Frissen,  I
Research Group Multisensory Perception and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Multisensory Perception and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83906

Ernst,  MO
Research Group Multisensory Perception and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Frissen, I., & Ernst, M. (2006). Visual Influence on Tactile Localization. Poster presented at 9th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2006), Tübingen, Germany.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-D2C3-F
Abstract
The primary source of information to determine where on the body we are being touched is derived from the somatosensory system. However, can visual information influence the perceived location of touch on the body? Ten participants localized a brief air puff (about 250 ms) applied to the smooth ventral surface of the right forearm somewhere between wrist and elbow. Localization was measured with a 2AFC paradigm in which participants judged the location of the tactile stimulus relative to a visual reference using two opposing 1-up/2-down staircases. Participants’ task was to indicate whether the air puff was closer or further from the wrist relative to the reference. In one condition the visual reference was a line drawn on the forearm midway between elbow and wrist (AIR ONLY). In another, the air puff was accompanied by a temporally synchronous line of laser light projected onto the reference location (AIR+LASER). The experiment was analogous to that of Bertelson and Aschersleben [1], which investigated visual influences on auditory localization. Based on this, we expected the synchronous light to facilitate multimodal integration and therefore affect tactile discrimination performance without introducing a bias. In the AIR ONLY condition the PSE was on average on the reference location. Surprisingly, in the AIR+LASER condition we did not find a change in discriminability relative to the AIR ONLY condition. We found, however, a significant shift of the PSE by 0.9 cm towards the elbow. This bias was evident in eight out of the ten participants. This demonstration of a visual effect on tactile localization may indicate that judging the location of a visual reference on the body is not free from biases.