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Title: Moving & feeling : the modulation of tactile perception during goal-directed movements : evidence from reaching, grasping, catching, & throwing
Author: Juravle, Georgiana
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 7633
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis focuses on tactile perception and aims at a comprehensive analysis of its characteristics over the time-course of various goal-directed movements. Tactile perception is assessed by means of discrimination and detection paradigms, as well as event-related potentials (ERPs). The main question investigated throughout the thesis is: ‘What changes in tactile perception, if any, take place over the time course of a goal-directed movement?’ In Chapter 2, the mechanisms related to such identified changes are examined: a facilitatory one – attention, and an inhibitory one – suppression. The experiment in Chapter 3 tests, at a brain level, amongst several explanations of the experimental results outlined in Chapter 2: timing-based, effector-based, and modality-based attentional/suppressive influences. In Chapter 4, other naturalistic movements are investigated (i.e., the movements involved in juggling and throwing/catching a basketball). The results indicate a lack of facilitation in the processing of tactile information during the preparatory phase of the movement. Furthermore, differential changes are identified in tactile perception over the execution phase of the movement: At a behavioural level, tactile sensitivity significantly declines over the execution phase of the movement (though the detection of incoming tactile stimulation is enhanced), while at a neuronal level the same period exhibits significantly enhanced responses to somatosensory stimulation. The experiments reported here thus bring evidence in favour of a dissociation between detecting and discriminating what is felt while moving. These results suggest that the quality of what is felt while moving may not be important for movement and, at the same time, that different pathways in the brain may be responsible for detecting and discriminating what is felt over the time course of a goal-directed movement. Based on these findings, in Chapter 5, the implications of these results are discussed and directions for further research are outlined.
Supervisor: Spence, Charles Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Experimental psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; tactile perception ; goal-directed movement