Neural substrates of tactile imagery: a functional MRI study

Neuroreport. 2003 Mar 24;14(4):581-5. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200303240-00011.


fMRI investigation on the neural substrates involved in tactile imagery is reported. Healthy subjects performed mental imagery of tactile stimulation on the dorsal aspect of the right hand. The results were compared with the regions of activation during the actual tactile stimulation. During imagery, contralateral primary and secondary somatosensory areas were activated along with activation in the left parietal lobe. Activations in left inferior frontal gyri (Brodmann's area 44), left dorsolateral prefrontal area, left precentral gyrus, left insula, and medial frontal gyrus were also observed. In the basal ganglia, activation in the left thalamus (ventral posteromedial nucleus) and putamen was found. Our results suggest that the primary and secondary somatosensory areas are recruited during tactile imagery, and have partially overlapping neural substrates for the perception of tactile stimulation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hand / innervation
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Time Factors