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Higher-level, unimodal and multisensory perception in humans using behavioural and neuroimaging methodologies

Using behavioural measures and fMRI imaging, we investigated whether tactile information processing in the brain was based on dual pathways, as in the visual system, with one pathway dedicated to spatial information processing and the other for recognition.

Using novel, unfamiliar stimuli, we found that information processing of tactile information involves a shared network of cortical areas in the brain but that, in general, spatial information is processed by the occipto-parietal pathway and information for recognition is processed by the occipito-temporal pathway.

Moreover, behavioural studies support these findings and show that performance in either of these tasks does not interfere with performance in the other task, suggesting task-dependent separation of resources. In further studies we found that vision can affect spatial and object recognition processing in touch. When visual information is reduced, however, then behavioural perceptual performance is enhanced by combining vision and touch.

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THE PROVOST FELLOWS & SCHOLARS OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY AND UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN