The presence of a light flash near to the body not only increases the ability to detect a weak touch but also increases reports of feeling a weak touch that did not occur. The somatic signal detection task (SSDT) provides a behavioural marker by which to clarify the spatial extent of such visuotactile interactions in peripersonal space. Whilst previous evidence suggests a limit to the spatial extent over which visual input can distort the perception of tactile stimulation during the rubber hand illusion, the spatial boundaries of light-induced tactile sensations are not known. In a repeated measures design, 41 participants completed the SSDT with the light positioned 1 cm (near), 17.5 cm (mid) or 40 cm (far) from the tactile stimulation. In the far condition, the light did not affect hit, or false alarm rates during the SSDT. In the near and mid conditions, the light significantly increased hit rates and led to a more liberal response criterion, that is, participants reported feeling the touch more often regardless of whether or not it actually occurred. Our results demonstrate a spatial boundary over which visual input influences veridical and non-veridical touch perception during the SSDT, and provide further behavioural evidence to show that the boundaries of the receptive fields of visuotactile neurons may be limited to reach space.
Experimental Brain Research – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2017
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