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Decoding visual roughness perception: an fMRI study

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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;

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Bülthoff,  I
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kim, J., Bülthoff, I., & Bülthoff, H. (2018). Decoding visual roughness perception: an fMRI study. Somatosensory & Motor Research, 35(3-4), 212-217. doi:10.1080/08990220.2018.1527761.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-B74C-B
Abstract
The neural substrates of tactile roughness perception have been investigated by many neuroimaging studies, while relatively little effort has been devoted to the investigation of neural representations of visually perceived roughness. In this human fMRI study, we looked for neural activity patterns that could be attributed to five different roughness intensity levels when the stimuli were perceived visually, i.e., in absence of any tactile sensation. During functional image acquisition, participants viewed video clips displaying a right index fingertip actively exploring the sandpapers that had been used for the behavioural experiment. A whole brain multivariate pattern analysis found four brain regions in which visual roughness intensities could be decoded: the bilateral posterior parietal cortex (PPC), the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) extending to the primary motor cortex (M1) in the right hemisphere, and the inferior occipital gyrus (IOG). In a follow-up analysis, we tested for correlations between the decoding accuracies and the tactile roughness discriminability obtained from a preceding behavioural experiment. We could not find any correlation between both although, during scanning, participants were asked to recall the tactilely perceived roughness of the sandpapers. We presume that a better paradigm is needed to reveal any potential visuo-tactile convergence. However, the present study identified brain regions that may subserve the discrimination of different intensities of visual roughness. This finding may contribute to elucidate the neural mechanisms related to the visual roughness perception in the human brain.