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Article Dans Une Revue Experimental Brain Research Année : 2016

Tactile perception during action observation


It has been suggested that tactile perception becomes less acute during movement to optimize motor control and to prevent an overload of afferent information generated during action. This empirical phenomenon, known as "tactile gating effect," has been associated with mechanisms of sensory feedback prediction. However, less attention has been given to the tactile attenuation effect during the observation of an action. The aim of this study was to investigate whether and how the observation of a goal-directed action influences tactile perception as during overt action. In a first experiment, we recorded vocal reaction times (RTs) of participants to tactile stimulations during the observation of a reach-to-grasp action. The stimulations were delivered on different body parts that could be either congruent or incongruent with the observed effector (the right hand and the right leg, respectively). The tactile stimulation was contrasted with a no body-related stimulation (an auditory beep). We found increased RTs for tactile congruent stimuli compared to both tactile incongruent and auditory stimuli. This effect was reported only during the observation of the reaching phase, whereas RTs were not modulated during the grasping phase. A tactile two-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) discrimination task was then conducted in order to quantify the changes in tactile sensitivity during the observation of the same goal-directed actions. In agreement with the first experiment, the tactile perceived intensity was reduced only during the reaching phase. These results suggest that tactile processing during action observation relies on a process similar to that occurring during action execution.
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Dates et versions

hal-01409983 , version 1 (06-12-2016)



Roberta Vastano, Alberto Inuggi, Claudia D. Vargas, Gabriel Baud-Bovy, Marco Jacono, et al.. Tactile perception during action observation. Experimental Brain Research, 2016, 234 (9), pp.2585 - 2594. ⟨10.1007/s00221-016-4663-z⟩. ⟨hal-01409983⟩
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