The world within reach is characterised to a large extent by our ability to sense objects through touch. Research into the sensation of touch has a long history. However, it is only relatively recently that significant advances have been made in understanding how information about objects we touch is represented in both the peripheral and central divisions of the nervous systems. This volume draws together the increasing body of knowledge regarding the mechanisms underlying tactile sensation and how they relate to tactile perception.
Individual chapters address; the response of mechanoreceptors to stimuli (including movement and shape), the role of the somatosensory cortex in processing tactile information, the psychophysics and neurophysiology of the detection and categorisation of somesthetic stimuli, perceptual constancy, recent findings in regard to short term and long term plasticity in the somatosensory cortex and the psychophysical correlates of this plasticity, and parallel versus serial information processing in the cortex.
The authors look at past and current research, and comment on the direction of future investigation, relating findings from psychophysical studies of tactile behavior to our growing understanding of the underlying neural mechanisms.