Exploring objects

with the sense of touch

The core problem in haptic recognition is determining the set of rules and processing steps underlying our ability to identify objects from the variable streams of somatic sensory information. When our hand explores an object the brain obtains partial and discontinuous sensory information.

We designed an active touch task in which participants explored a spheroid-shaped object to determine its inclination with respect to the horizontal plane (inclined to the left or the right).

Our results show that the somatosensory system is able to benefit from longer stimulus streams but does not show perfect integration beyond 600 ms of 1800 ms long stimuli.

This line of research centers on object recognition as a way to study how the brain makes sense of the constantly varying streams of sensory information; how learning shapes neuronal circuits; and how stored information is retrieved. All of our cognitive functions rely directly on the brain’s ability to store information and to recall that information by recognition.