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Neural Activity Patterns in the Human Brain Reflect Tactile Stickiness Perception

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Kim,  J
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Project group: Recognition & Categorization, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Kim, J., Yeon, J., Ryu, J., Park, J.-Y., Chung, S.-C., & Kim, S.-P. (2017). Neural Activity Patterns in the Human Brain Reflect Tactile Stickiness Perception. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11: 445, pp. 1-12. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00445.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-C2BA-3
Abstract
Our previous human fMRI study found brain activations correlated with tactile stickiness perception using the uni-variate general linear model (GLM) (Yeon et al., 2017). Here, we conducted an in-depth investigation on neural correlates of sticky sensations by employing a multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA) on the same dataset. In particular, we statistically compared multi-variate neural activities in response to the three groups of sticky stimuli: A supra-threshold group including a set of sticky stimuli that evoked vivid sticky perception; an infra-threshold group including another set of sticky stimuli that barely evoked sticky perception; and a sham group including acrylic stimuli with no physically sticky property. Searchlight MVPAs were performed to search for local activity patterns carrying neural information of stickiness perception. Similar to the uni-variate GLM results, significant multi-variate neural activity patterns were identified in postcentral gyrus, subcortical (basal ganglia and thalamus), and insula areas (insula and adjacent areas). Moreover, MVPAs revealed that activity patterns in posterior parietal cortex discriminated the perceptual intensities of stickiness, which was not present in the uni-variate analysis. Next, we applied a principal component analysis (PCA) to the voxel response patterns within identified clusters so as to find low-dimensional neural representations of stickiness intensities. Follow-up clustering analyses clearly showed separate neural grouping configurations between the Supra- and Infra-threshold groups. Interestingly, this neural categorization was in line with the perceptual grouping pattern obtained from the psychophysical data. Our findings thus suggest that different stickiness intensities would elicit distinct neural activity patterns in the human brain and may provide a neural basis for the perception and categorization of tactile stickiness.