Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Neuroscience

Supervisor

Melvyn Goodale

Abstract

Shape and texture provide cues to object identity, both when objects are explored using vision and via touch (haptics). Visual shape information is processed within the lateral occipital complex (LOC), while texture is processed in medial regions of the collateral sulcus (CoS). Evidence indicates that the LOC is consistently recruited during both visual and haptic shape processing. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine whether 'visual' texture-selective areas are similarly recruited when observers discriminate texture via touch. We used a blocked design in which participants attended to either the texture or shape of a number of 3-dimensional (3D) objects, via vision or touch. We observed significant haptic texture-selective fMRI responses in medial occipitotemporal cortex within areas adjacent to, but not overlapping, those recruited during visual texture discrimination. Our data demonstrate that occipitotemporal areas typically associated with visual processing are recruited during the perception of surface texture via touch.


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