Effect of posture change on tactile perception: impaired direction discrimination performance with interleaved fingers.
Zampini M., Harris C., Spence C.
We report a series of experiments in which participants had to judge the direction in which a pair of vibrotactile stimuli presented to two adjacent digits of either the same or different hands were stimulated (left-to-right or vice versa in experiments 1 and 2; near-to-far or vice versa in experiment 3, at stimulus onset asynchronies varying between 100 and 600 ms). When the participant's hands were placed side-by-side (anatomical posture), with their fingers either pointing away from them or else pointing toward the midline, directional discrimination performance was generally accurate. By contrast, when the fingers of the two hands were interleaved in either of these postures, performance deteriorated significantly for certain specific combinations of digits, with a more pronounced impairment seen when the fingers pointed away from the participant than when they pointed toward the midline. This decline in tactile direction discrimination performance in the interleaved fingers posture appears to reflect a failure to represent the position of tactile stimuli correctly when the fingers of the two hands are interleaved.