Hands Up: Attentional Prioritization of Space Near the Hand

Document Type



Psychology (CMC)

Publication Date



This study explored whether hand location affected spatial attention. The authors used a visual covert-orienting paradigm to examine whether spatial attention mechanisms--location prioritization and shifting attention--were supported by bimodal, hand-centered representations of space. Placing 1 hand next to a target location, participants detected visual targets following highly predictive visual cues. There was no a priori reason for the hand to influence task performance unless hand presence influenced attention. Results showed that target detection near the hand was facilitated relative to detection away from the hand, regardless of cue validity. Similar facilitation was found with only proprioceptive or visual hand location information but not with arbitrary visual anchors or distant targets. Hand presence affected attentional prioritization of space, not the shifting of attention.

Rights Information

© 2006 American Psychological Association