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Goal-directed movements are characterized by sensory suppression, that is, by decreased sensitivity to tactile stimuli. In the present study, we investigated tactile suppression during movement using a complex motor task: basic 3-ball juggling. It was hypothesized that a decrease in tactile sensitivity would be observed, together with a shift in participants' response bias while juggling. In a first experiment, participants had to detect a short gap in an otherwise continuous vibratory stimulus, which was delivered to their wrist under conditions of rest or else while juggling. In a second experiment, participants detected a short time gap in a continuous auditory signal, under the same conditions. In a final control experiment performed at rest, participants detected a short time gap in an auditory or tactile signal. In an additional condition, the detection of a gap in tactile stimulation was required under conditions of intramodal tactile interference. Participants were significantly less sensitive to detect a gap in tactile stimulation whilst juggling. Most importantly, these results were paired with a significant shift toward participants adopting a more conservative criterion when responding to the presence of the gap (i.e. they were more likely to say that a gap was not present). Taken together, these results demonstrate movement-related tactile sensory suppression and point to a decisional component in tactile suppression, thus suggesting that tactile suppression could already be triggered in the brain ahead of the motor command.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Brain Res

Publication Date





87 - 97


Adult, Decision Making, Female, Humans, Male, Movement, Physical Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Rest, Sensitivity and Specificity, Statistics, Nonparametric, Time Factors, Touch, Young Adult