Some characteristics of tactile channels

Behav Brain Res. 2004 Jan 5;148(1-2):35-40. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(03)00177-3.


The four information-processing channels of glabrous skin have distinct tuning characteristics which appear to be determined in the periphery at the level of sensory receptors and their afferent nerve fibers. The four-channel model [J Acoust Soc Am 84 (1988) 1680] has been updated to include measurement over a wider frequency range of tuning of the P and NP I channels, psychophysically determined by forward-masking and adaptation tuning curve methods. In addition to differences in their tuning, the P and NP channels differ in the following ways: (1) the P channel, but not NP channels, has been found to be capable of temporal summation, which operates by neural integration; (2) the capacity for spatial summation is also an exclusive property of the P channel; (3) sensitivity declines with age at a greater rate in the P channel than in the NP channels; (4) the masking or adaptation of a channel has no effect on the sensitivity of the other channels, although the channels interact in the summation of the perceived magnitudes of stimuli presented to separate channels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Perceptual Masking
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Skin / innervation
  • Space Perception
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Vibration