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Attention in sense of touch

  • Matthias M. Müller
  • Claire-Marie Giabbiconi

Abstract

In everyday life the human brain is confronted with an enormous amount of sensory input at any given moment. To guarantee coherent and adaptive behaviour, selective attention is needed to focus the limited processing resources on the relevant part of the available information while ignoring the rest [1, 2]. This chapter provides an overview on some topics of current research in attention and the sense of touch. We will mainly focus on studies using mechanical stimuli rather than electrical stimulation. The physical characteristics of electrical stimuli (sharp and short duration of only a fraction of a millisecond) makes them closer to pain stimuli and, thus, suboptimal to mimic the complex interactions between different mechanoreceptors of the glabrous skin [3–5]. In contrast, mechanical stimuli have not such a sharp onset (mostly they are delivered in form of a sinusoid, see below) and make contact with the skin for much longer.

Keywords

Blood Oxygen Level Dependent Tactile Stimulus Body Location Stimulus Processing Attentional Modulation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Selected readings

  1. Chapman CE, Meftah EM (2005) Independent controls of attentional influences in primary and secondary so matosensory cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology 94: 4094–4107PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Forster B, Eimer M (2004) The attentional selection of spatial and non-spatial attributes in touch: ERP evidence for parallel and independent processes. Biological Psychology 66: 1–20PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Giabbiconi CM, Trujillo-Barreto NJ, Gruber T, Müller MM (2007) Sustained spatial attention to vibration is mediated in primary somatosensory cortex. Neuro Image 35: 252–262Google Scholar
  4. Hsiao SS, Vega-Bermudez F (2002) Attention in the somatosensory system. In: RJ Nelson (ed.) The somatosensory system: Deciphering the brain’s own body image. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 197–217Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias M. Müller
    • 1
  • Claire-Marie Giabbiconi
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Psychologie 1Universität LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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