Data for: Visuospatial working memory abilities and spontaneous sensation perception

Published: 17 January 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/mhvx5347c2.1
sara salgues, George MICHAEL, Gaën Plancher


Aim:Body awareness arises when attending to and maintaining awareness of visuospatial body repre-sentations. By the same token, focussing on representations transfers them to working memory. Bodyawareness and working memory seemingly rely on similar processes and recruit common parietalareas involved in perception. Therefore, we asked whether visuospatial working memory abilitieswould define individual differences in the perception of spontaneous sensations (SPS), i.e., bodily sen-sations perceived in the absence of triggers (e.g., tactile stimulation or movement), when attending tothe body.Method:Participants completed two visuospatial working memory tasks to assess various mecha-nisms: (i) the decay of representations was assessed through a Brown-Peterson task in which the delaybetween the memorandum presentation and its recall was manipulated, and (ii) the impact of distrac-tors’interference and cognitive load (i.e., complexity) on recall performances were assessed through acomplex span task that required the processing of distractors while maintaining a memorandum. Astandard SPS task involving localization and characterization of SPS perceived on the hands was com-pleted afterwards.Results:Low performance due to decay, distractors’interference and cognitive load in visuospatialworking memory was associated with a decrease in the frequency of SPS. Additionally, low perform-ance due to distractors’cognitive load predicted a decrease in the perception of surface-type sensa-tions, and high performance despite distractors’interference led to a better perception of SPS on lesssensitive areas of the hand.Conclusion:We discuss how visuospatial working memory processes might contribute to body aware-ness and perceptual distortions of the body.



Cognitive Psychology, Working Memory, Self Awareness