Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Tactile localization biases are modulated by gaze direction

Medina, Sonia, Tamè, Luigi, Longo, Matthew R. (2018) Tactile localization biases are modulated by gaze direction. Experimental Brain Research, 236 (1). pp. 31-42. ISSN 0014-4819. (doi:10.1007/s00221-017-5105-2) (KAR id:71612)

PDF (Authors' copy in pdf format) Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English
Download this file
[thumbnail of Authors' copy in pdf format]
Request a format suitable for use with assistive technology e.g. a screenreader
Official URL:


Identifying the spatial location of touch on the skin surface is a fundamental function of our somatosensory system. Despite the fact that stimulation of even single mechanoreceptive afferent fibres is sufficient to produce clearly localised percepts, tactile localisation can be modulated also by higher level processes such as body posture. This suggests that tactile events are coded using multiple representations using different coordinate systems. Recent reports provide evidence for systematic biases on tactile localisation task, which are thought to result from a supramodal representation of the skin surface. While the influence of non-informative vision of the body and gaze direction on tactile discrimination tasks has been extensively studied, their effects on tactile localisation tasks remain largely unexplored. To address this question, participants performed a tactile localization task on their left hand under different visual conditions by means of a mirror box; in the mirror condition, a single stimulus was delivered on participants’ hand, while the reflexion of the right hand was seen through the mirror; in the object condition, participants looked at a box through the mirror, and in the right hand condition, participants looked directly at their right hand. Participants reported the location of the tactile stimuli using a silhouette of a hand. Results showed a shift in the localization of the touches towards the tip of the fingers (distal bias) and the thumb (radial biases) across conditions. Critically, distal biases were reduced when participants looked towards the mirror compared to when they looked at their right hand suggesting that gaze direction reduces the typical proximodistal biases in tactile localization. Moreover, vision of the hand modulates the internal configuration of points’ locations, by elongating it, in the radio-ulnar axis.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s00221-017-5105-2
Uncontrolled keywords: Tactile localization Vision Body representation Gaze direction
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Luigi Tame
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2019 16:38 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 15:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.