Spatial coding of touch at the fingers: Insights from double simultaneous stimulation within and between hands
Tamè, L., Farnè, A. and Pavani, F. (2011) Spatial coding of touch at the fingers: Insights from double simultaneous stimulation within and between hands. Neuroscience Letters, 487 (1). pp. 78-82. ISSN 0304-3940
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.09.078
We studied the effect of tactile double simultaneous stimulation (DSS) within and between hands to examine spatial coding of touch at the fingers. Participants performed a go/no-go task to detect a tactile stimulus delivered to one target finger (e.g., right index), stimulated alone or with a concurrent non-target finger, either on the same hand (e.g., right middle finger) or on the other hand (e.g., left index finger=homologous; left middle finger=non-homologous). Across blocks we also changed the unseen hands posture (both hands palm down, or one hand rotated palm-up). When both hands were palm-down DSS interference effects emerged both within and between hands, but only when the non-homologous finger served as non-target. This suggests a clear segregation between the fingers of each hand, regardless of finger side. By contrast, when one hand was palm-up interference effects emerged only within hand, whereas between hands DSS interference was considerably reduced or absent. Thus, between hands interference was clearly affected by changes in hands posture. Taken together, these findings provide behavioral evidence in humans for multiple spatial coding of touch during tactile DSS at the fingers. In particular, they confirm the existence of representational stages of touch that distinguish between body-regions more than body-sides. Moreover, they show that the availability of tactile stimulation side becomes prominent when postural update is required.