Effects of Visual Attentional Load on the Tactile Sensory Memory Indexed by Somatosensory Mismatch Negativity

Xin He, Jian Zhang, Zhilin Zhang, Ritsu Go, Jinglong Wu, Chunlin Li, Kai Gan, Duanduan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Auditory sensory memory indexed by mismatch negativity has been broadly studied over the past century, but far less attention has been directed to tactile sensory memory. To investigate whether tactile sensory memory is affected by attention, we recorded somatosensory mismatch negativity (sMMN) from 24 healthy adults in two experiments to distinguish sustained attention from non-sustained attention. Using the roving somatosensory oddball paradigm, we analyzed the average dynamic changes in the amplitude and latency of sMMN amplitude and found a clear sMMN component at the central region at a 100–300 ms interval. The sMMN amplitude, which indexes the early detection of tactile stimuli with the sensory memory trace, was larger in the tactile attentional task. Additionally, the sMMN latency increased with the increasing visual attentional load, which indicates a decay of tactile sensory memory. Our results indicate that the more attention resources are allocated for a tactile sensation, the more favorable it is to the generation of tactile sensory memory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number575078
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 25 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • attention
  • electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • perceptual load theory
  • somatosensory mismatch negativity (sMMN)
  • tactile sensory memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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