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In two experiments, we investigated the automatic integration of touch across the fingers. Participants made judgments about the roughness of sequences of textures presented to one finger while simultaneously feeling textures of varying roughness with another finger (the distractor digit) on the same hand. Integration across digits was evident when the thumb and index finger were used together, whereas there was a general disruption of attention when the thumb and little finger were used together. In addition, interference was greater when the distractor digit was above the touched surface than when it was below the touched surface. These results suggest that there is integration of information across fingers when people feel textures, but that this integration pattern does not conform to a spread of activation across somatosensory maps.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychol Sci

Publication Date





476 - 483


Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Discrimination (Psychology), Female, Fingers, Humans, Male, Orientation, Posture, Psychophysics, Stereognosis, Surface Properties, Touch, Young Adult