8th Annual Meeting of the International Multisensory Research Forum
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Justin Harris

Non-informative vision causes adaptive changes in tactile sensitivity
Single Paper Presentation

Justin Harris
Psychology, University of Sydney

Ehsan Arabzadeh
Psychology, University of Sydney

Clinton Moore
Psychology, University of Sydney

Colin Clifford
Psychology, University of Sydney

     Abstract ID Number: 36
     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: June 18, 2007
     Presentation date: 07/07/2007 8:40 AM in Quad General Lecture Theatre
     (View Schedule)

The present study focuses on the integration of vision and touch, and in particular how tactile perception is affected by a view of the relevant body part but which contains no information about the tactile stimulus itself. Previous studies have established that this “non-informative vision” improves subsequent tactile sensitivity (Kennett, Taylor-Clarke, & Haggard, 2001, Current Biology 11, 1188–1191), a finding we confirm in the present study. However, we also report here that non-informative vision impairs the detection of tactile stimuli. This effect is shown to resemble, and indeed combine additively with, shifts in discrimination and detection thresholds produced by suprathreshold tactile stimulation. We conclude that non-informative vision of the body does not simply enhance somatosensory processing, but rather it induces adaptive changes in tactile sensitivity via shifts in gain control operating within a bimodal sensory system.

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