Up to 2002

Santa Lucia - Neurosciences and Rehabilitation Sapienza University of Rome

Percept Mot Skills. 2000 Aug;91(1):3-14

Spatial stimulus-response compatibility and coding of tactile motor events: influence of distance between stimulated and responding body parts, spatial complexity of the task and sex of subject

We studied spatial stimulus response compatibility in the somatosensory modality by instructing 16 men and 16 women to press a key using the left or the right thumb in response to a nonnoxious electric stimulation delivered either to the left or to the right little finger or, in different blocks, to the left or to the right malleolar region. The task was performed in compatible (stimulus and key-response on the same side of the corporeal midline) and in incompatible conditions (stimulus and key-response on opposite sides of the corporeal midline). In Exp. 1 subjects were tested while keeping their limbs in anatomic position; in Exp. 2 subjects performed the task while keeping the left upper and lower limbs on the right side and the right limbs on the left side of the bodily midline (crossed position). The compatibility effect was observed in both experiments and was higher for stimuli delivered to the little finger than to the malleolar region. This suggests that the cost of inhibiting compatible responses is maximal when stimulated and responding body parts are contiguous. Moreover, in the spatially most demanding task (Exp. 2) men outperformed women for both speed and accuracy suggesting a sex related specialisation in the spatial processing of somatosensory information.

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