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A mechanism for spatial perception on human skin

Fardo, F; Beck, B; Cheng, T; Haggard, P; (2018) A mechanism for spatial perception on human skin. Cognition , 178 pp. 236-243. 10.1016/j.cognition.2018.05.024. Green open access

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Abstract

Our perception of where touch occurs on our skin shapes our interactions with the world. Most accounts of cutaneous localisation emphasise spatial transformations from a skin-based reference frame into body-centred and external egocentric coordinates. We investigated another possible method of tactile localisation based on an intrinsic perception of 'skin space'. The arrangement of cutaneous receptive fields (RFs) could allow one to track a stimulus as it moves across the skin, similarly to the way animals navigate using path integration. We applied curved tactile motions to the hands of human volunteers. Participants identified the location midway between the start and end points of each motion path. Their bisection judgements were systematically biased towards the integrated motion path, consistent with the characteristic inward error that occurs in navigation by path integration. We thus showed that integration of continuous sensory inputs across several tactile RFs provides an intrinsic mechanism for spatial perception.

Type: Article
Title: A mechanism for spatial perception on human skin
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2018.05.024
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.05.024
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Localisation, Path integration, Receptive fields, Skin, Space perception, Touch
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10052125
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