Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 216, Issue 2, pp 311–320 | Cite as

Directional remapping in tactile inter-finger apparent motion: a motion aftereffect study

  • Scinob KurokiEmail author
  • Junji Watanabe
  • Kunihiko Mabuchi
  • Susumu Tachi
  • Shin’ya Nishida
Research Article


Tactile motion provides critical information for perception and manipulation of objects in touch. Perceived directions of tactile motion are primarily defined in the environmental coordinate, which means they change drastically with body posture even when the same skin sensors are stimulated. Despite the ecological importance of this perceptual constancy, the sensory processing underlying tactile directional remapping remains poorly understood. The present study psychophysically investigated the mechanisms underlying directional remapping in human tactile motion processing by examining whether finger posture modulates the direction of the tactile motion aftereffect (MAE) induced by inter-finger apparent motions. We introduced conflicts in the adaptation direction between somatotopic and environmental spaces by having participants change their finger posture between adaptation and test phases. In a critical condition, they touched stimulators with crossed index and middle fingers during adaptation but with uncrossed fingers during tests. Since the adaptation effect was incongruent between the somatotopic and environmental spaces, the direction of the MAE reflects the coordinate of tactile motion processing. The results demonstrated that the tactile MAE was induced in accordance with the motion direction determined by the environmental rather than the somatotopic space. In addition, it was found that though the physical adaptation of the test fingers was not changed, the tactile MAE disappeared when the adaptation stimuli were vertically aligned or when subjective motion perception was suppressed during adaptation. We also found that the tactile MAE, measured with our procedure, did not transfer across different hands, which implies that the observed MAEs mainly reflect neural adaptations occurring within sensor-specific, tactile-specific processing. The present findings provide a novel behavioral method to analyze the neural representation for directional remapping of tactile motion within tactile sensory processing in the human brain.


Tactile apparent motion Motion aftereffect Remapping Somatosensory Psychophysics 



This work was supported by a grant-in-aid for CREST and JSPS Fellows (20-10531).


  1. Aghdaee SM (2005) Adaptation to spiral motion in crowding condition. Perception 34:155–162PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Azañón E, Soto-Faraco S (2008) Changing reference frames during the encoding of tactile events. Curr Biol 18:1044–1049PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Azañón E, Longo MR, Soto-Faraco S, Haggard P (2010) The posterior parietal cortex remaps touch into external space. Curr Biol 20:1304–1309PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benedetti F (1985) Processing of tactile spatial information with crossed fingers. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 11:517–525PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bensmaїa SJ, Leung YY, Hsiao SS, Johnson KO (2005) Vibratory adaptation of cutaneous mechanoreceptive afferents. J Neurophysiol 94:3023–3036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bensmaїa SJ, Denchev PV, Dammann JF, Craig JC, Hsiao SS (2008) The representation of stimulus orientation in the early stages of somatosensory processing. J Neurosci 28:776–786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blake R, Tadin D, Sobel KV, Raissian TA, Chong SC (2006) Strength of early visual adaptation depends on visual awareness. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:4783–4788PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chaudhuri A (1990) Modulation of the motion aftereffect by selective attention. Nature 344:60–62PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chung S, Li X, Nelson SB (2002) Short-term depression at thalamocortical synapses contributes to rapid adaptation of cortical sensory responses in vivo. Neuron 34:437–446PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Costanzo RM, Gardner EP (1980) A quantitative analysis of responses of direction-sensitive neurons in somatosensory cortex of awake monkeys. J Neurophysiol 43:1319–1341PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Craig JC (2003) The effect of hand position and pattern motion on temporal order judgments. Percept Psychophys 65:779–788PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Culham JC, Verstraten FA, Ashida H, Cavanagh P (2010) Independent aftereffects of attention and motion. Neuron 28:607–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. de Lafuente V, Romo R (2005) Neuronal correlates of subjective sensory experience. Nat Neurosci 8:1698–1703PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Driver J, Grossenbacher PG (1996) Multimodal spatial constraints on tactile selective attention. In: Innui T, McClelland J (eds) Attention and performance. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 209–235Google Scholar
  15. Friedman RM, Chen LM, Roe AW (2004) Modality maps within primate somatosensory cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:12724–12729PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Graziano MS, Yap GS, Gross CG (1994) Coding of visual space by premotor neurons. Science 266:1054–1057PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hagen MC, Franzen O, McGlone F, Essick G, Dancer C, Pardo JV (2002) Tactile motion activates the human middle temporal/V5 (MT/V5) complex. Eur J Neurosci 16:957–964PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hollins M, Favorov O (1994) The tactile movement aftereffect. Somatosens Mot Res 11:153–162PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Iwamura Y, Tanaka M, Sakamoto M, Hikosaka O (1983) Converging patterns of finger representation and complex response properties of neurons in area 1 of the first somatosensory cortex of the conscious monkey. Exp Brain Res 51:327–337Google Scholar
  20. Iwamura Y, Tanaka M, Sakamoto M, Hikosaka O (1993) Rostrocaudal gradients in the neuronal receptive field complexity in the finger region of the alert monkey’s postcentral gyrus. Exp Brain Res 92:360–368PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kaas JH, Nelson RJ, Sur M, Lin CS, Merzenich MM (1979) Multiple representations of the body within the primary somatosensory cortex of primates. Science 204:521–523PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kirman JH (1974) Tactile apparent movement: the effects of interstimulus onset interval and stimulus duration. Percept Psychophys 15:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Konkle T, Wang Q, Hayward V, Moore CI (2009) Motion aftereffects transfer between touch and vision. Curr Biol 12:745–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kuroki S, Watanabe J, Kawakami N, Tachi S, Nishida S (2010) Somatotopic dominance in tactile temporal processing. Exp Brain Res 203:51–62PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kurth R, Villringer K, Curio G, Wolf KJ, Krause T, Repenthin J, Schwiemann J, Deuchert M, Villringer A (2000) fMRI shows multiple somatotopic digit representations in human primary somatosensory cortex. Neuroreport 11:1487–1491PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lehmkuhle SW, Fox R (1975) Effect of binocular rivalry suppression on the motion aftereffect. Vis Res 15:855–859PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lerner EA, Craig JC (2002) The prevalence of tactile motion aftereffects. Somatosens Mot Res 19:24–29PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maruya K, Watanabe H, Watanabe M (2008) Adaptation to invisible motion results in low-level but not high-level aftereffects. J Vis 8:1–11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mather G, Verstraten FAJ, Anstis SM (1998) The motion aftereffect: a modern perspective. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  30. Nishida S, Ashida H (2000) A hierarchical structure of motion system revealed by interocular transfer of flicker motion aftereffects. Vis Res 40:265–278PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nishida S, Sato T (1995) Motion aftereffect with flickering test patterns reveals higher stages of motion processing. Vis Res 35:477–490PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. O’Mara S, Rowe MJ, Tarvin RP (1988) Neural mechanisms in vibrotactile adaptation. J Neurophysiol 59:607–622PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Pei YC, Hsiao SS, Craing JC, Bensmaїa SJ (2010) Shape invariant coding of motion direction in somatosensory cortex. PLoS Biol 8:e1000305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pei YC, Hsiao SS, Craing JC, Bensmaїa SJ (2011) Neural mechanisms of tactile motion integration in somatosensory cortex. Neuron 69:536–547PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Planetta PJ, Servos P (2008) The tactile motion aftereffect revisited. Somatosens Mot Res 25:93–99PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Planetta PJ, Servos P (2010) Site of stimulation effects on the prevalence of the tactile motion aftereffect. Exp Brain Res 202:377–383PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rees G, Frith CD, Lavie N (1997) Modulating irrelevant motion perception by varying attentional load in an unrelated task. Science 278:1616–1619PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rinker MA, Craig JC (1994) The effect of spatial orientation on the perception of moving tactile stimuli. Percept Psycophys 56:356–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ruiz S, Crespo P, Romo R (1995) Representation of moving tactile stimuli in the somatic sensory cortex of awake monkeys. J Neurophysiol 73:525–537PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Sakata H, Takaoka Y, Kawarasaki A, Shibutani H (1973) Somatosensory properties of neurons in the superior parietal cortex (area 5) of the rhesus monkey. Brain Res 64:85–102PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sanabria D, Soto-Faraco S, Spence C (2005) Spatiotemporal interactions between audition and touch depend on hand posture. Exp Brain Res 165:505–514PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sekine T, Mogi K (2009) Distinct neural processes of bodily awareness in crossed fingers illusion. Neuroreport 20:467–472PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sherrick CE (1968) Bilateral apparent haptic movement. Percept Psychophys 4:159–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sherrick CE, Rogers R (1966) Apparent haptic movement. Percept Psycophys 1:175–180Google Scholar
  45. Shore DI, Spry E, Spence C (2002) Confusing the mind by crossing the hands. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 14:153–163PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Simons SB, Chiu J, Favorov OV, Whitsel BL, Tommerdahl M (2007) Duration-dependent response of SI to vibrotactile stimulation in squirrel monkey. J Neurophysiol 97:2121–2129PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Soto-Faraco S, Ronald A, Spence C (2004a) Tactile selective attention and body posture: assessing the multisensory contributions of vision and proprioception. Percept Psychophys 66:1077–1094PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Soto-Faraco S, Spence C, Kingstone A (2004b) Congruency effects between auditory and tactile motion: extending the phenomenon of cross-modal dynamic capture. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 4:208–217PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Summers IR, Francis ST, Bowtell RW, McGlone FP, Clemence M (2009) A functional-magnetic-resonance-imaging investigation of cortical activation from moving vibrotactile stimuli on the fingertip. J Acoust Soc Am 125:1033–1039PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Thalman WA (1922) The after-effect of movement in the sense of touch. Am J Psychol 33:268–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Warren S, Hamalainen HA, Gardner EP (1986) Objective classification of motion- and direction-sensitive neurons in primary somatosensory cortex of awake monkeys. J Neurophysiol 56:598–622PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Watanabe J, Hayashi S, Kajimoto H, Tachi S, Nishida S (2007) Tactile motion aftereffects produced by appropriate presentation for mechanoreceptors. Exp Brain Res 180:577–582PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Whitney D, Bressler DW (2007) Second-order motion without awareness: passive adaptation to second-order motion produces a motion aftereffect. Vis Res 47:569–579PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wiesenfelder H, Blake R (1990) The neural site of binocular rivalry relative to the analysis of motion in the human visual system. J Neurosci 10:3880–3888PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Wohlgemuth A (1911) On the after-effect of seen movement. Br J Psychol 1:1–117Google Scholar
  56. Yamamoto S, Kitazawa S (2001) Reversal of subjective temporal order due to arm crossing. Nat Neurosci 4:759–765PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scinob Kuroki
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Junji Watanabe
    • 1
  • Kunihiko Mabuchi
    • 2
  • Susumu Tachi
    • 3
  • Shin’ya Nishida
    • 1
  1. 1.NTT Communication Science LaboratoriesNippon Telegraph and Telephone CorporationAtsugiJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Information Science and TechnologyThe University of TokyoBunkyoJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Media DesignKeio UniversityYokohamaJapan

Personalised recommendations