Frequency tagging of steady‐state evoked potentials to explore the crossmodal links in spatial attention between vision and touch


The sustained periodic modulation of a stimulus induces an entrainment of cortical neurons responding to the stimulus, appearing as a steady‐state evoked potential (SS‐EP) in the EEG frequency spectrum. Here, we used frequency tagging of SS‐EPs to study the crossmodal links in spatial attention between touch and vision. We hypothesized that a visual stimulus approaching the left or right hand orients spatial attention toward the approached hand, and thereby enhances the processing of vibrotactile input originating from that hand. Twenty‐five subjects took part in the experiment: 16‐s trains of vibrotactile stimuli (4.2 and 7.2 Hz) were applied simultaneously to the left and right hand, concomitantly with a punctate visual stimulus blinking at 9.8 Hz. The visual stimulus was approached toward the left or right hand. The hands were either uncrossed (left and right hands to the left and right of the participant) or crossed (left and right hands to the right and left of the participant). The vibrotactile stimuli elicited two distinct SS‐EPs with scalp topographies compatible with activity in the contralateral primary somatosensory cortex. The visual stimulus elicited a third SS‐EP with a topography compatible with activity in visual areas. When the visual stimulus was over one of the hands, the amplitude of the vibrotactile SS‐EP elicited by stimulation of that hand was enhanced, regardless of whether the hands were uncrossed or crossed. This demonstrates a crossmodal effect of spatial attention between vision and touch, integrating proprioceptive and/or visual information to map the position of the limbs in external space.

Gan Huang
Gan Huang

My research interests include Neural Modulation, Brain Computer Interface and Neural Prosthetics.