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If a peripheral target follows an ipsilateral cue with a stimulus-onset-asynchrony (SOA) of 300 ms or more, its detection is delayed compared to a contralateral-cue condition. This phenomena, known as inhibition-of-return (IOR), affects responses to visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli, and is thought to provide an index of exogenous shifts of spatial attention. The present study investigated whether tactile IOR occurs in a somatotopic vs an allocentric frame of reference. In experiment 1, tactile cue and target stimuli were presented to the index and middle fingers of either hand, with the hands positioned in an uncrossed posture (SOA 500 or 1,000 ms). Speeded target detection responses were slowest for targets presented from the cued finger, and were also slower for targets presented to the adjacent finger on the cued hand than to either finger on the uncued hand. The same pattern of results was also reported when the index and middle fingers of the two hands were interleaved on the midline (experiment 2), suggesting that the gradient of tactile IOR surrounding a cued body site is modulated by the somatotopic rather than by the allocentric distance between cue and target.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Brain Res

Publication Date





453 - 462


Adolescent, Adult, Analysis of Variance, Cues, Female, Fingers, Humans, Inhibition (Psychology), Male, Physical Stimulation, Posture, Reaction Time, Touch