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Neural time-course of the observation of human and non-human object touch.

Authors
  • Streltsova, Alena
  • McCleery, Joseph P
Type
Published Article
Journal
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2014
Volume
9
Issue
3
Pages
333–341
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/scan/nss142
PMID: 23202659
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have reported activation of primary and secondary somatosensory cortices when participants observe another person or object being touched. In this study, we used event-related potentials to examine the nature and time-course of the neural mechanisms associated with the observation of humans and non-human objects being touched. Participants were presented with short video clips of a human arm or a non-human cylindrical object being touched by an object, compared with an object moving in front of the arms or cylinders without touching them. Touch vs non-touch effects were observed in the amplitudes of the N100 and N250 components, as well as a late slow wave component (500-600 ms), measured from electrodes over primary somatosensory cortex. Human vs non-human stimulus effects were reflected in the latencies of the N100, P170 and N250 components recorded over somatosensory cortex, as well as the temporal-parietal visual-perceptual N170 and N250 components. These findings suggest that human and non-human touch observation are associated with somatosensory processing at both an early sensory-perceptual stage and a relatively late cognitive stage, both preceding and following the perceptual encoding of the humanness of stimuli that typically occurs in extrastriate visual areas.

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