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.


For neuroscientists, physiologists, cognitive and experimental psychologists.

Table of Contents

Preface. Contributors. Factors affecting direction discrimination of moving tactile stimuli (G.K. Essick). Extracting the shape of an object from the responses of peripheral nerve fibers (A.W. Goodwin). The signalling of touch, finger movements and manipulation forces by mechanoreceptors in human skin (V.G. Macefield). Similarities between touch and vision (S.S. Hsiao). Functional organization of the somatosensory cortex in the primate (A.B. Turman et al.). Representation of tactile funtions in the somatosensory cortex (Y. Iwamura). Processing of somesthetic stimuli in primate sensory-motor cortex (R. Romo et al.). Constancy in the somatosensory system: central neural mechanisms underlying the appreciation of texture during active touch (C.E. Chapman). Short-term plasticity in adult somatosensory cortex (M.B. Calford et al.). Subject index.


No. of pages:
© 1998
North Holland
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the editor

J.W. Morley

Affiliations and Expertise

School of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia