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    Hand posture modulates perceived tactile distance

    Longo, Matthew R. (2017) Hand posture modulates perceived tactile distance. Scientific Reports 7 , p. 9665. ISSN 2045-2322.

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    Abstract

    A growing literature shows that body posture modulates the perception of touch, as well as somatosensory processing more widely. In this study, I investigated the effects of changes in the internal postural configuration of the hand on the perceived distance between touches. In two experiments participants positioned their hand in two postures, with the fingers splayed (Apart posture) or pressed together (Together posture). In Experiment 1, participants made forced-choice judgments of which of two tactile distances felt bigger, one oriented with the proximal-distal hand axis (Along orientation) and one oriented with the medio-lateral hand axis (Across orientation). In Experiment 2, participants made verbal estimates of the absolute distance between a single pair of touches, in one of the two orientations. Consistent with previous results, there was a clear bias to perceive distances in the across orientation as larger than those in the along orientation. Perceived tactile distance was also modulated by posture, with increased judgments in both orientations when the fingers were splayed. These results show that changes in the internal posture of the hand modulate the perceived distance between touches on the hand, and add to a growing literature showing postural modulation of touch.

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