Spatiotemporal integration of tactile patterns along and across fingers

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The volar sides of the fingers can be seen as the haptic counterpart to the fovea for visual perception. This study assessed the localisation of individual tactile stimuli and spatiotemporal patterns presented to the volar side of the fingers. Participants performed the localisation task by pointing at the perceived positions with a 3D tracker. Based on the pointing data, perceptual maps were devised in which perceived positions, their relationship to each other and to veridical stimulus positions could be analysed. Participants were able to accurately and consistently report the locations of the stimuli. Localisation of stimuli presented within a spatiotemporal pattern generally differed from localization of individual stimuli presented to the same positions. In most cases, stimuli were perceived as being spatially closer when they were presented within a spatiotemporal pattern compared to when being presented individually. Spatiotemporal integration along the fingers followed the predictions of the sensory saltation paradigm: The shorter the temporal delay between the two stimuli, the closer together they were perceived. For spatiotemporal patterns across fingers, the results were inconclusive: No general relationship between temporal delay and the difference between the perceived positions could be demonstrated, presumably because the effect could only be elicited in some finger combinations. Temporal delay did have, however, an effect on overall lateral shifts in localisation. © 2013 The Authors.




Trojan, J., Heil, M., Maihöfner, C., Hölzl, R., Kleinböhl, D., Flor, H., & Benrath, J. (2014). Spatiotemporal integration of tactile patterns along and across fingers. Neuropsychologia, 53(1), 12–24.

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