The modulation of haptic line bisection by a visual illusion and optokinetic stimulation.
Gallace A., Auvray M., Spence C.
Research has shown that a variety of different sensory manipulations, including visual illusions, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, vestibular caloric stimulation, optokinetic stimulation, and prism adaptation, can all influence people's performance on spatial tasks such as line bisection. It has been suggested that these manipulations may act upon the 'higher-order' levels of representation used to code spatial information. We investigated whether we could influence haptic line bisection in normal participants crossmodally by varying the visual background that participants viewed. In experiment 1, participants haptically bisected wooden rods while looking at a variant of the Oppel - Kundt visual illusion. Haptic-bisection judgments were influenced by the orientation of the visual illusion (in line with previous unimodal visual findings). In experiment 2, haptic-bisection judgments were also influenced by the presence of a leftward or rightward moving visual background. In experiments 3 and 4, the position of the to-be-bisected stimuli was varied with respect to the participant's body midline. The results confirmed an effect of optokinetic stimulation, but not of the Oppel -Kundt illusion, on participants' tactile-bisection errors, suggesting that the two manipulations might differentially affect haptic processing. Taken together, these results suggest that the 'higher-order' levels of spatial representation upon which perceptual judgments and/or motor responses are made may have multisensory or amodal characteristics.