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Tactile intensity and population codes

Authors
Journal
Behavioural Brain Research
0166-4328
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
190
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.02.044
Keywords
  • Neural Code
  • Submodalities
  • Hot Zone
  • Intensity
  • Touch
  • Somatosensory System
  • Neurophysiology
  • Psychophysics
Disciplines
  • Physics

Abstract

Abstract An important question in neuroscience is how different aspects of a stimulus are encoded at different stages of neural processing. In this review, I discuss studies investigating the peripheral neural code for perceived intensity in touch. One of the recurrent themes in this line of research is that information about stimulus intensity is encoded in the activity of populations of neurons. Not only is information integrated across afferents of a given type, but information is also combined across submodalities to yield a unified percept of stimulus intensity. The convergence of information stemming from multiple submodalities is particularly interesting in light of the fact that these are generally thought to be parallel sensory channels with distinct sensory functions and little cross-channel interactions. I discuss implications of a recently proposed model of intensity coding for psychophysical functions and for the coding of intensity in cortex. I also briefly review the peripheral coding of intensity in other sensory modalities.

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