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      Visual and spatial modulation of tactile extinction: behavioural and electrophysiological evidence

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          Crossing the hands over the midline reduces left tactile extinction to double simultaneous stimulation in right-brain-damaged patients, suggesting that spatial attentional biases toward the ipsilesional (right) side of space contribute to the patients' contralesional (left) deficit. We investigated (1) whether the position of the left hand, and its vision, affected processing speed of tactile stimuli, and (2) the electrophysiological underpinnings of the effect of hand position. (1) Four right-brain-damaged patients with spatial neglect and contralesional left tactile extinction or somatosensory deficits, and eight neurologically unimpaired participants, performed a speeded detection task on single taps delivered on their left index finger. In patients, placing the left hand in the right (heteronymous) hemi-space resulted in faster reaction times (RTs) to tactile stimuli, compared to placing that hand in the left (homonymous) hemi-space, particularly when the hand was visible. By contrast, in controls placing the left hand in the heteronymous hemi-space increased RTs. (2) Somatosensory event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from one patient and two controls in response to the stimulation of the left hand, placed in the two spatial positions. In the patient, the somatosensory P70, N140, and N250 components were enhanced when the left hand was placed in the heteronymous hemi-space, whereas in controls these components were not modulated by hand position. The novel findings are that in patients placing the left hand in the right, ipsilesional hemi-space yields a temporal advantage in processing tactile stimuli, and this effect may rely on a modulation of stimulus processing taking place as early as in the primary somatosensory cortex, as indexed by evoked potentials. Furthermore, vision enhances tactile processing specifically when the left hand is placed in the hemi-space toward which the patients' attentional biases are pathologically directed, namely rightwards.

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          Most cited references 68

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          A cortical network for directed attention and unilateral neglect.

          Unilateral neglect reflects a disturbance in the spatial distribution of directed attention. A review of unilateral neglect syndromes in monkeys and humans suggests that four cerebral regions provide an integrated network for the modulation of directed attention within extrapersonal space. Each component region has a unique functional role that reflects its profile of anatomical connectivity, and each gives rise to a different clinical type of unilateral neglect when damaged. A posterior parietal component provides an internal sensory map and perhaps also a mechanism for modifying the extent of synaptic space devoted to specific portions of the external world; a limbic component in the cingulate gyrus regulates the spatial distribution of motivational valence; a frontal component coordinates the motor programs for exploration, scanning, reaching, and fixating; and a reticular component provides the underlying level of arousal and vigilance. This hypothetical network requires at least three complementary and interacting representations of extrapersonal space: a sensory representation in posterior parietal cortex, a schema for distributing exploratory movements in frontal cortex, and a motivational map in the cingulate cortex. Lesions in only one component of this network yield partial unilateral neglect syndromes, while those that encompass all the components result in profound deficits that transcend the mass effect of the larger lesion. This network approach to the localization of complex functions offers an alternative to more extreme approaches, some of which stress an exclusive concentration of function within individual centers in the brain and others which advocate a more uniform (equipotential or holistic) distribution. In human beings, unilateral neglect syndromes are more frequent and severe after lesions in the right hemisphere. Also, right hemisphere mechanisms appear more effective in the execution of attentional tasks. Furthermore, the attentional functions of the right hemisphere span both hemispaces, while the left hemisphere seems to contain the neural apparatus mostly for contralateral attention. This evidence indicates that the right hemisphere of dextrals has a functional specialization for the distribution of directed attention within extrapersonal space.
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            Integration of proprioceptive and visual position-information: An experimentally supported model.

             R Hooft,  J Gon,  A C Sittig (1999)
            To localize one's hand, i.e., to find out its position with respect to the body, humans may use proprioceptive information or visual information or both. It is still not known how the CNS combines simultaneous proprioceptive and visual information. In this study, we investigate in what position in a horizontal plane a hand is localized on the basis of simultaneous proprioceptive and visual information and compare this to the positions in which it is localized on the basis of proprioception only and vision only. Seated at a table, subjects matched target positions on the table top with their unseen left hand under the table. The experiment consisted of three series. In each of these series, the target positions were presented in three conditions: by vision only, by proprioception only, or by both vision and proprioception. In one of the three series, the visual information was veridical. In the other two, it was modified by prisms that displaced the visual field to the left and to the right, respectively. The results show that the mean of the positions indicated in the condition with both vision and proprioception generally lies off the straight line through the means of the other two conditions. In most cases the mean lies on the side predicted by a model describing the integration of multisensory information. According to this model, the visual information and the proprioceptive information are weighted with direction-dependent weights, the weights being related to the direction-dependent precision of the information in such a way that the available information is used very efficiently. Because the proposed model also can explain the unexpectedly small sizes of the variable errors in the localization of a seen hand that were reported earlier, there is strong evidence to support this model. The results imply that the CNS has knowledge about the direction-dependent precision of the proprioceptive and visual information.
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              Neural signatures of body ownership: a sensory network for bodily self-consciousness.

              Body ownership refers to the special perceptual status of one's own body, which makes bodily sensations seem unique to oneself. We studied the neural correlates of body ownership by controlling whether an external object was accepted as part of the body or not. In the rubber hand illusion (RHI), correlated visuotactile stimulation causes a fake hand to be perceived as part of one's own body. In the present study, we distinguished between the causes (i.e., multisensory stimulation) and the effect (i.e., the feeling of ownership) of the RHI. Participants watched a right or a left rubber hand being touched either synchronously or asynchronously with respect to their own unseen right hand. A quantifiable correlate of the RHI is a shift in the perceived position of the subject's hand toward the rubber hand. We used positron emission tomography to identify brain areas whose activity correlated with this proprioceptive measure of body ownership. Body ownership was related to activity in the right posterior insula and the right frontal operculum. Conversely, when the rubber hand was not attributed to the self, activity was observed in the contralateral parietal cortex, particularly the somatosensory cortex. These structures form a network that plays a fundamental role in linking current sensory stimuli to one's own body and thus also in self-consciousness.

                Author and article information

                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front. Hum. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                25 July 2012
                : 6
                1Department of Psychology, City University London London, UK
                2Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London London, UK
                3Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca Milan, Italy
                4Neuropsychological Laboratory, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano Milan, Italy
                5Centre for Neurocognitive Rehabilitation, University of Trento Rovereto (TN), Italy
                6Rehabilitation Unit Suzzara (Mantova), Italy
                Author notes

                Edited by: Konstantinos Priftis, University of Padova, Italy

                Reviewed by: Alessandro Farne, INSERM, France; Francesca Frassinetti, University of Bologna, Italy; Marco Pitteri, IRCCS San Camillo Hospital Foundation, Italy

                *Correspondence: Chiara F. Sambo, Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, Medical Sciences Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK. e-mail: c.sambo@ 123456ucl.ac.ucl
                Copyright © 2012 Sambo, Vallar, Fortis, Ronchi, Posteraro, Forster and Maravita.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 93, Pages: 14, Words: 11983
                Original Research Article


                attention, erps, hand crossing, tactile extinction, multisensory, space


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