Selection in touch: negative priming with tactile stimuli.
Frings C., Bader R., Spence C.
Abundant experimental evidence has demonstrated attentional selection within the visual modality. Furthermore, the consensus view is currently that two processes contribute to selection: the amplification of the target stimuli and the ignoring (or suppression) of any distractor information. However, at present it is less clear how selection is achieved within the tactile modality. In the present study, we analyze the aftereffects of ignoring tactile distractors, in a novel tactile variant of the negative priming paradigm. In the typical negative priming paradigm, repeating an ignored distractor stimulus as the target on the following trial usually leads to a cost in terms of reaction times (RTs) or error rates, thereby indicating that selection is achieved in part by the ignoring of distractors. In two experiments, we observed significant RT costs when a previously ignored vibrotactile stimulus constituted the target in the next trial. This result shows that tactile selection is in part achieved by active ignoring of distractor representations, as has been shown previously in both the visual and auditory modalities.