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Human ability to discriminate direction of three-dimensional force stimuli applied to the finger pad
Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Physiology.
2011 (English)In: Journal of Neurophysiology, ISSN 0022-3077, E-ISSN 1522-1598, Vol. 105, no 2, 541-547 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sensory information from tactile mechanoreceptors located in the glabrous skin of the hand is crucial for skillful object exploration and manipulation. These mechanoreceptors reliably encode the direction of fingertip forces, and the brain certainly relies on this information in both sensorimotor and cognitive tasks. In this study, we examined human ability to discriminate the direction of force stimuli applied to the volar surface of the index fingertip on the basis of tactile information only. We show that humans can discriminate three-dimensional (3D) force stimuli whose directions differ by an angle as small as 7.1 ° in the plane tangential to the skin surface. Moreover, we found that the discrimination ability was mainly affected by the time-varying phases of the stimulus, because adding a static plateau phase to the stimulus improved the discrimination threshold only to a limited extent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 105, no 2, 541-547 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-41338DOI: 10.1152/jn.00322.2010PubMedID: 21106897OAI: diva2:405710
Available from: 2011-03-23 Created: 2011-03-23 Last updated: 2013-10-25Bibliographically approved

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