An anisotropy of human tactile sensitivity and its relation to the visual oblique effect

Exp Brain Res. 1992;91(3):520-4. doi: 10.1007/BF00227848.


The ability of humans to detect striated stimuli on the distal phalanges was found to be highly anisotropic. Observers were much more sensitive to stripes presented in the proximal-distal orientation than to stripes in any other orientation. This tactile anisotropy was contrasted with the well-known visual anisotropy in which sensitivity is greatest for stripes at the horizontal and vertical orientations. We suggest that both the tactile anisotropy and the visual anisotropy are caused by corresponding anisotropies in the distribution of preferred orientations of orientation-selective neurons with in the respective modalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fingers / innervation
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*