Subject-level differences in reported locations of cutaneous tactile and nociceptive stimuli

Peter Steenbergen, Jan R. Buitenweg, Jörg Trojan, Bart Klaassen, Peter H. Veltink

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    14 Citations (Scopus)
    63 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Recent theoretical advances on the topic of body representations have raised the question whether spatial perception of touch and nociception involve the same representations. Various authors have established that subjective localizations of touch and nociception are displaced in a systematic manner. The relation between veridical stimulus locations and localizations can be described in the form of a perceptual map; these maps differ between subjects. Recently, evidence was found for a common set of body representations to underlie spatial perception of touch and slow and fast pain, which receive information from modality specific primary representations. There are neurophysiological clues that the various cutaneous senses may not share the same primary representation. If this is the case, then differences in primary representations between touch and nociception may cause subject-dependent differences in perceptual maps of these modalities. We studied localization of tactile and nociceptive sensations on the forearm using electrocutaneous stimulation. The perceptual maps of these modalities differed at the group level. When assessed for individual subjects, the differences localization varied in nature between subjects. The agreement of perceptual maps of the two modalities was moderate. These findings are consistent with a common internal body representation underlying spatial perception of touch and nociception. The subject level differences suggest that in addition to these representations other aspects, possibly differences in primary representation and/or the influence of stimulus parameters, lead to differences in perceptual maps in individuals.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number325
    Number of pages9
    JournalFrontiers in human neuroscience
    Volume6
    Issue number325
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2012

    Keywords

    • Localization
    • Nociception
    • Touch
    • Body representations
    • Perceptual map
    • Primary representations
    • Electrocutaneous stimulation

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