Exclusive:Sensory Integration and Its Brain Mechanisms

Neural mechanisms of tactile information processing

  • ZHOU Lili, YAO Xinru, TANG Zhengyu, REN Qiaoyue, LÜ Xuejing, HU Li
  • 1. Key Laboratory of Mental Health;Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Received date: 2017-05-31

  Revised date: 2017-08-24

  Online published: 2017-10-18


To perceive external environment more efficiently, the sensory information derived from the modality of touch, or tactile information, is processed in terms of its physical features and affective responses to these features. This review summarizes the current understanding about how haptic information is processed in skin, spinal cord, and cerebral cortex of animals and humans. Typically, different non-noxious somatosensory information is coded by various cutaneous sensory neurons called low-threshold mechanoreceptors (LTMRs). Next, haptic processing starts at the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, and then it partially segregates into different pathways, transmitting information to the somatosensory cortex, the first crucial brain area for haptic information processing. Moreover, several relatively independent brain networks are responsible for the processing of different properties of haptic information. Finally, by discussing the interactions between touch and other sensory modalities, we argue that such interactions are plastic, which is warranted in the future work to generate extensive value in applications.

Cite this article

ZHOU Lili, YAO Xinru, TANG Zhengyu, REN Qiaoyue, LÜ Xuejing, HU Li . Neural mechanisms of tactile information processing[J]. Science & Technology Review, 2017 , 35(19) : 37 -43 . DOI: 10.3981/j.issn.1000-7857.2017.19.004


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