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Full Access Dissociating sensory attention and motor preparation: An ERP study

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Dissociating sensory attention and motor preparation: An ERP study

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Sensory and motor systems are closely linked as expressed in the Premotor Theory of Attention (PMTA, Rizzolatti et al., 1987). The PMTA predicts that sensory attention effects on stimulus processing are equivalent to an explicit or implicit motor preparation towards these stimuli. This view has been supported by findings suggesting a high overlap of neural systems involved in attention control and motor preparation (Corbetta et al., 1998). However, attempts to dissociate sensory attention and motor preparation effects, which, if possible, would argue against the PMTA, are still lacking. Eleven participants (8 female, mean age: 24 years (20–32 years)) performed a dual task: First they were verbally instructed to prepare a unimanual movement either towards the center, the left or the right side (motor attention). During the movement preparation phase a stream of visual stimuli was presented in the left and the right hemifield. Keeping central fixation participants had to detect rare color changes in one hemifield (left or right), while ignoring all other stimuli. After a variable interval (1–10 s) an auditory stimulus was presented that instructed the participants to execute the movement. This experimental paradigm allowed us to dissociate sensory and motor attention effects on visual stimulus processing. We analyzed the behavioral response to target stimuli and the visually ERPs to irrelevant visual stimuli at frontal, central and occipital cluster sites at three different time windows centered over the P1, the N1 and the N2. Both effects of sensory and motor attention as well as the interaction were analyzed.

Affiliations: 1: Biological Psychology and Neuropsychology, University of Hamburg, Germany

Sensory and motor systems are closely linked as expressed in the Premotor Theory of Attention (PMTA, Rizzolatti et al., 1987). The PMTA predicts that sensory attention effects on stimulus processing are equivalent to an explicit or implicit motor preparation towards these stimuli. This view has been supported by findings suggesting a high overlap of neural systems involved in attention control and motor preparation (Corbetta et al., 1998). However, attempts to dissociate sensory attention and motor preparation effects, which, if possible, would argue against the PMTA, are still lacking. Eleven participants (8 female, mean age: 24 years (20–32 years)) performed a dual task: First they were verbally instructed to prepare a unimanual movement either towards the center, the left or the right side (motor attention). During the movement preparation phase a stream of visual stimuli was presented in the left and the right hemifield. Keeping central fixation participants had to detect rare color changes in one hemifield (left or right), while ignoring all other stimuli. After a variable interval (1–10 s) an auditory stimulus was presented that instructed the participants to execute the movement. This experimental paradigm allowed us to dissociate sensory and motor attention effects on visual stimulus processing. We analyzed the behavioral response to target stimuli and the visually ERPs to irrelevant visual stimuli at frontal, central and occipital cluster sites at three different time windows centered over the P1, the N1 and the N2. Both effects of sensory and motor attention as well as the interaction were analyzed.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134808-000s0125
2013-05-16
2016-12-09

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