The somatosensory system: Exploration of digit-area somatotopy and feature-based attention
von Meike Annika Schweisfurth
Datum der mündl. Prüfung:2013-06-10
Betreuer:Prof. Dr. Jens Frahm
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Jens Frahm
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Stefan Treue
EnglischEven though the skin is by far the largest sensory organ that we humans possess and immensely important for coping with everyday life, the somatosensory system has been studied far less than the visual or auditory system. Hence, many basic and important questions still remain to be explored. This thesis is devoted to the exploration of several features of the human somatosensory system. With behavioral and systemic tools, light is shed into basic questions of touch processing, thereby contributing to the presently comparatively scarce body of knowledge about somatosensation. This thesis comprises four studies, focusing on two different aspects of the human sense of touch. The first two studies investigate whether and how the peripheral digit-area topography is reflected in the cortical digit and phalanx representations, exploring the presence of across-digit and intra-digit somatotopy and characterizing the individual human all-phalanx digit map in unprecedented detail. Studies three and four explore and partly prove the existence of global feature-based attention in the somatosensory domain, for the first time assessing the issue both with behavioral tools and functional imaging.
Keywords: human; Brodmann area 3b; somatotopy; intra-digit; across-digit; feature-based; attention; fMRI; reaction times