How we perceive our own hands: Effects of attention, aging, and sex
Somatosensory & motor research
Naveteur J
Dupuy MA
Gabrielli F
Michael GA

This study investigates whether both the perception of somesthetic sensations arising spontaneously on the hand and their modulation by attention are subject to change with advancing age and sex. Participants aged between 50 and 68 (N = 24), and younger (19-27; N = 24), with an equal sex ratio in each group, described the spontaneous sensations they felt on one of their hands. Two 10-s tests were carried out with participants either seeing their tested hand (gaze towards the visible hand) or not (contralateral gaze, hidden hand). Within the age range covered by our participants, aging had an effect on the spatial distribution of sensations, insofar as the older participants reported feeling more sensations in their palm whereas the younger participants had more sensitive fingers. Age also influenced the number, nature, intensity, and duration of sensations in interaction with gaze and/or sex. The most frequent pattern was a benefit of ipsilateral relative to contralateral gazing in young women. Attentional modulation was seldom observed in men and was absent among older participants.