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The human somatosensory system: From perception to decision making

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Pleger,  Burkhard
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Citation

Pleger, B., & Villringer, A. (2013). The human somatosensory system: From perception to decision making. Progress in Neurobiology, 103, 76-97. doi:10.1016/j.pneurobio.2012.10.002.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-F0F6-3
Abstract
Pioneering human and animal research has yielded a better understanding of the brain networks involved in somatosensory perception and decision making. New methodical achievements in combination with computational formalization allow research questions to be addressed which increasingly reflect not only the complex sensory demands of real environments, but also the cognitive ones. Here, we review the latest research on somatosensory perception and decision making with a special focus on the recruitment of supplementary brain networks which are dependent on the situation-associated sensory and cognitive demands. We also refer to literature on sensory-motor integration processes during visual decision making to delineate the complexity and dynamics of how sensory information is relayed to the motor output system. Finally, we review the latest literature which provides novel evidence that other everyday life situations, such as semantic decision making or social interactions, appear to depend on tactile experiences; suggesting that the sense of touch, being the first sense to develop ontogenetically, may essentially support later development of other conceptual knowledge.