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People's awareness of tactile stimuli has been investigated in far less detail than their awareness of stimuli in other sensory modalities. In an attempt to fill this gap, we provide an overview of studies that are pertinent to the topic of tactile consciousness. We discuss the results of research that has investigated phenomena such as "change blindness", phantom limb sensations, and numerosity judgments in tactile perception, together with the results obtained from the study of patients affected by deficits that can adversely affect tactile perception such as neglect, extinction, and numbsense. The similarities as well as some of the important differences that have emerged when visual and tactile conscious information processing have been compared using similar experimental procedures are highlighted. We suggest that conscious information processing in the tactile modality cannot be separated completely from the more general processing of spatial information in the brain. Finally, the importance of considering tactile consciousness within the larger framework of multisensory information processing is also discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Conscious Cogn

Publication Date





370 - 407


Attention, Consciousness, Humans, Memory, Perceptual Disorders, Perceptual Distortion, Somatosensory Cortex, Space Perception, Time Perception, Touch, Visual Perception