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Tactile confusions of the fingers and toes

Manser-Smith, Kelda, Tamè, Luigi, Longo, Matthew R. (2018) Tactile confusions of the fingers and toes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44 (11). pp. 1727-1738. ISSN 0096-1523. (doi:10.1037/xhp0000566) (KAR id:71616)


Recent research has shown systematic patterns of confusions between digits of the hands and feet. The present study addressed whether such confusions arise from early somatosensory maps or higher level body representations. As the glabrous and hairy skin of the hands and feet have distinct representations in somatosensory cortex, an effect arising from early somatotopic maps may show distinct patterns on each skin surface. In contrast, if the effect arises from higher level body representations which represent the digits as volumetric units, similar patterns should be apparent regardless of which side of the digit is touched. We obtained confusion matrices showing the pattern of mislocalization on the glabrous and hairy skin surfaces of the toes (Experiment 1) and fingers (Experiment 2). Our results replicated the characteristic pattern of mislocalizations found on the glabrous skin reported in previous studies. Critically, these effects were highly similar on the hairy skin surface of both the toes and fingers. Despite the pattern of mislocalizations being highly stereotyped across participants, there were consistent individual differences in the pattern of confusions across the two skin surfaces. These results suggest that mislocalizations occur at the level of individual digits, consistent with their resulting from higher level body representations.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1037/xhp0000566
Uncontrolled keywords: body representation, somatosensation, tactile localization, fingers, toes
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Luigi Tame
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2019 21:36 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 19:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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