Somatosensory cortical mechanisms of feature detection in tactile and kinesthetic discrimination.

Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology

PubMedID: 3139269

Gardner EP. Somatosensory cortical mechanisms of feature detection in tactile and kinesthetic discrimination. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1988;66(4):439-54.
Neurons in somatosensory cortex of primates process sensory information from the hand by integrating information from large populations of receptors to extract specific features. Tactile neurons in areas 1 and 2 are shown to select features such as contact area, edge orientation, motion across the skin, or direction of movement. Features coded by kinesthetic neurons in areas 3a and 2 relate to joint movement, the joint angle around which the movement occurs, or coordinated postures of the hand and arm. An even higher order cortical cell integrates tactile and kinesthetic information; these "haptic neurons" respond optimally to contact of objects actively grasped in the hand. These global features are coded at the expense of loss of information concerning fine-grained spatial detail.