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    Shifts of attention in light and in darkness: an ERP study of supramodal attentional control and crossmodal links in spatial attention

    Eimer, Martin and Van Velzen, J. and Forster, B. and Driver, J. (2003) Shifts of attention in light and in darkness: an ERP study of supramodal attentional control and crossmodal links in spatial attention. Cognitive Brain Research 15 (3), pp. 308-323. ISSN 0926-6410.

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    Crossmodal links in spatial attention, uncovered by recent behavioural and electrophysiological studies, have been interpreted as evidence for supramodal processes controlling shifts of attention. However, previous experiments have usually been conducted in illuminated environments. Continuously available visuo-spatial information might result in shifts of attention being primarily guided by visible information, even when another modality is task-relevant. The present ERP study evaluated this. A symbolic auditory cue directed attention to the left or right hand. Participants had to detect infrequent tactile targets delivered to the cued hand, while ignoring any visual stimuli. Stimuli were presented either in a lit environment or in darkness. Although continuous ambient visuo-spatial information was eliminated in the latter condition, processing of task-irrelevant visual events was still modulated by spatial attention for the tactile task. Moreover, ERP correlates of attentional shifts in the cue–target interval were similar for both illumination conditions. This was further confirmed in a follow-up experiment where the darkness condition was repeated without any peripheral visual stimulation ever occurring. These findings demonstrate that the ERP correlates of crossmodal attention (both preparatory effects in the cue–target interval, and also modulations of stimulus-evoked components) do not depend on selection being guided by ambient visible information in a lit environment. They suggest instead that spatial shifts of attention are controlled supramodally.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 15:07
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:56


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