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Exp Brain Res. 2010 Aug;205(1):31-40. doi: 10.1007/s00221-010-2330-3. Epub 2010 Jun 22.

Spatially valid proprioceptive cues improve the detection of a visual stimulus.

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Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Botterell Hall, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada.


Vision and proprioception are the main sensory modalities that convey hand location and direction of movement. Fusion of these sensory signals into a single robust percept is now well documented. However, it is not known whether these modalities also interact in the spatial allocation of attention, which has been demonstrated for other modality pairings. The aim of this study was to test whether proprioceptive signals can spatially cue a visual target to improve its detection. Participants were instructed to use a planar manipulandum in a forward reaching action and determine during this movement whether a near-threshold visual target appeared at either of two lateral positions. The target presentation was followed by a masking stimulus, which made its possible location unambiguous, but not its presence. Proprioceptive cues were given by applying a brief lateral force to the participant's arm, either in the same direction (validly cued) or in the opposite direction (invalidly cued) to the on-screen location of the mask. The d' detection rate of the target increased when the direction of proprioceptive stimulus was compatible with the location of the visual target compared to when it was incompatible. These results suggest that proprioception influences the allocation of attention in visual space.

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