Tactile estimation of hedonic and sensory properties during active touch: An electroencephalography study.
Henderson J., Mari T., Hewitt D., Newton-Fenner A., Hopkinson A., Giesbrecht T., Marshall A., Stancak A., Fallon N.
Perceptual judgements about our physical environment are informed by somatosensory information. In real-world exploration, this often involves dynamic hand movements to contact surfaces, termed active touch. The current study investigated cortical oscillatory changes during active exploration to inform the estimation of surface properties and hedonic preferences of two textured stimuli: smooth silk and rough hessian. A purpose-built touch sensor quantified active touch, and oscillatory brain activity was recorded from 129-channel electroencephalography. By fusing these data streams at a single trial level, oscillatory changes within the brain were examined while controlling for objective touch parameters (i.e., friction). Time-frequency analysis was used to quantify changes in cortical oscillatory activity in alpha (8-12 Hz) and beta (16-24 Hz) frequency bands. Results reproduce findings from our lab, whereby active exploration of rough textures increased alpha-band event-related desynchronisation in contralateral sensorimotor areas. Hedonic processing of less preferred textures resulted in an increase in temporoparietal beta-band and frontal alpha-band event-related desynchronisation relative to most preferred textures, suggesting that higher order brain regions are involved in the hedonic processing of texture. Overall, the current study provides novel insight into the neural mechanisms underlying texture perception during active touch and how this process is influenced by cognitive tasks.