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Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2004 Jun;20(1):58-66.

Selective spatial attention to left or right hand flutter sensation modulates the steady-state somatosensory evoked potential.

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Institut für Allgemeine Psychologie, Universität Leipzig, Seeburgstrasse 14-20, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.


Steady-state somatosensory evoked potentials (SSSEPs) were recorded from the scalp of human subjects elicited by 20 and 26 Hz mechanical vibrations applied simultaneously to the index finger of the left (20 Hz) and right hand (26 Hz). Subjects were instructed to attend to the flutter vibration at one finger while ignoring the other finger and to detect rare target events at the to-be-attended finger. The amplitude of the frequency coded SSSEP elicited by the attended vibration was significantly enlarged when attention was focused at the respective finger. This amplitude enhancement with attention was most prominent over fronto-central electrode locations contralateral to the attended finger. This is the first report to show the attentional modulation of the SSSEP amplitude in humans, suggesting an enhancement of neural responses in the sense of flutter with attention. The findings will open a new approach for studying the neural mechanisms of sustained selective attention in somatosensation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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