Biotribology in the Cognitive Domain: Investigation of the Neural Response to a Textured Tactile Stimulus using Event-Related Potentials (ERP)
Is Version Of
Tactile communication tools such as tactile graphics and braille used by the blind and visually impaired (BVI) rely on the sense of touch to convey information. Limitations in the skin's perceptive resolution and inefficiencies in the representation of tactile information within a modest amount of page space pose challenges in representing scientific information such as those commonly encountered in the STEM fields. To overcome such limitations, the tribological factors affecting perception and the subsequent quantification of perception using a reliable metric unaffected by subjectivity are essential. In this study, direct observation of the neural activity in response to a tactile stimulus using event-related potentials (ERP) is presented, and its viability to consistently quantify the neural activity and locate the cortical regions involved in tactile stimulus processing has been investigated. A control sample with no textures and a textured sample that presents a change from smooth to rough textures were used as stimuli. The ERP data were collected using a 64-electrode electroencephalography (EEG) system. A squared difference approach was used to measure the differences in the electric potential amplitude caused by the control sample and the textured sample. The primary somatosensory cortex (SI) and posterior parietal cortex (PPC) of the brain showed persistent activity, suggesting that these areas were frequently involved in processing the tactile stimulus used in this study. Surprising results were observed when the temporal cortex and inferior parietal cortex (IPC) that have not been previously shown to be involved in processing tactile stimulations also showed persistent activity. However, their proximity to the primary somatosensory cortex and posterior parietal cortex suggests that areas adjacent to these cortices might also be involved in tactile stimulus processing. Overall, the analysis results showed that ERP could be used as a quantitative and objective tool in studying the cognitive response to tactile stimuli.
This accepted article is published as Renganathan, P., Schwartz, C.J., Biotribology in the Cognitive Domain: Investigation of the Neural Response to a Textured Tactile Stimulus using Event-Related Potentials (ERP). Biotribology, 35-36(Dec 2023);100250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biotri.2023.100250. Posted with permission.