Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 6, pp 1563–1571 | Cite as

The approach of visual stimuli influences expectations about stimulus types for subsequent somatosensory stimuli

  • Tsukasa Kimura
  • Jun’ichi Katayama
Research Article


It is known that perceiving a visual stimulus influences the processing of subsequent somatosensory stimuli. In particular, an emotion-laden visual stimulus influences the processing of types of subsequent somatosensory stimuli. Additionally, visual stimuli approaching the body facilitate spatial and temporal expectations about subsequent somatosensory stimuli even if the visual stimuli do not contain emotional information; however, it remains unclear whether the approach of non-emotional visual stimuli also influences such expectations. To investigate whether the approach of non-emotional visual stimuli influences expectations about types of subsequent somatosensory stimuli, event-related brain potentials (ERPs) during a simple reaction time task using somatosensory stimuli were recorded. Specific colors of visual stimuli and types of somatosensory stimuli were combined to form congruent and incongruent trials. In the congruent trials, specific combinations (e.g., blue color and a single pulse) were presented (80% of the trials), whereas in the incongruent trials, different combinations (e.g., blue color and a train pulse) were presented (20% of the trials). Under the approach condition, the visual stimuli sequentially approached the wrist to which the somatosensory stimulus was presented. In the neutral condition, the visual stimuli did not approach. The results of the ERP analysis showed that incongruence evoked a P3 response with larger amplitude under the approach condition than under the neutral condition. This result suggests that visual stimuli that approach the body function as clues regarding the types of subsequent somatosensory stimuli even if the visual stimuli do not contain emotional information.


Expectation Multimodal interaction Visuotactile processing Stimulus type 



Part of this study was supported by Special Research Fund A of 2017 funds from Kwansei Gakuin University awarded to JK. The experiment was conducted as part of the project supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), JAPAN, for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities (2015–2019; Project number S1511032) at the Center for Applied Psychological Science (CAPS), Kwansei Gakuin University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceKwansei Gakuin UniversityNishinomiyaJapan
  2. 2.Center for Applied Psychological Science (CAPS)Kwansei Gakuin UniversityNishinomiyaJapan

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