Sensory consequences of directing attention and action to opposite locations

Elena Gherri, Martin Eimer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Previous event-related-potential studies have demonstrated that preparing an action at a specific location selectively enhances the processing of visual stimuli at that location, as demonstrated by enhanced N1 components to visual probes presented close to the hand involved in a currently prepared response. These effects were similar to those previously found observed as a result of covert spatial attention, suggesting that attention and action both result in spatially selective modulations of visual processing. If this is the case, the attentional processing of visual stimuli on one side should be less efficient when participants simultaneously prepare an action directed to the opposite side. To test this prediction, we cued participants to shift their attention to the left or right side, and to simultaneously prepare to lift the index finger of their left or right hand. Imperative stimuli were either a central Go signal, requiring execution of the prepared manual response, or a peripheral visual stimulus, which required a visual target-nontarget discrimination only when presented on the cued side. An enhanced N1 was elicited by visual non-target stimuli on the task-relevant attended side only when attention and action were directed to the same side. In contrast, no such attentional N1 modulation emerged when they were directed to opposite locations. These results demonstrate that selecting a visual stimulus on one side is less efficient when simultaneously preparing an action on the opposite side, and thus supports the hypothesis that shared mechanisms are involved in the control of attention and action.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventAnnual Meeting of The Cognitive Neuroscience Society 2009 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 21 Mar 200924 Mar 2009


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of The Cognitive Neuroscience Society 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


Dive into the research topics of 'Sensory consequences of directing attention and action to opposite locations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this