Cutaneous Mechanoreceptive Afferents: Neural Coding of Texture
We can identify objects by the way they feel. As we move our fingers over objects in our pocket or purse, we can easily distinguish between our keys and our phone or between two different fabrics in our dresser drawer. The tactile perception of the surface texture of objects, i.e., of their microstructure and material properties, contributes to our ability to identify them by touch. Signals in the nerve convey information that allows us to identify different textures, as well as attribute different perceptual properties (e.g., roughness or hardness) to them.
Spatial and Temporal Mechanisms
When we run our fingers across a textured surface, a characteristic pattern of deformations is produced in the skin (Sripati et al. 2006), and the resulting stresses and strains are transduced by multiple populations of mechanoreceptors embedded in the skin. The spatial layout and timing of the consequent spatiotemporal patterns of afferent activation convey...
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