Convergence in the somatosensory pathway between cutaneous afferents from the index and middle fingers in man

Exp Brain Res. 1983;50(2-3):415-25. doi: 10.1007/BF00239208.


Average short-latency cerebral potentials were recorded from the parietal scalp to mechanical stimulation of the index and middle fingers and to electrical stimulation of the digital nerves in normal subjects. The early components of the cerebral potential, representing the arrival of the afferent volley at the sensorimotor cortex, were studied during stimulation of the fingers separately and together. When strong or moderate stimuli were used there was a suppressive interaction between the afferent input from the two fingers with either electrical or mechanical stimulation. During simultaneous stimulation of both fingers the size of the early component of the cerebral potential was less than predicted by simple addition of the potentials produced by stimulation of the fingers individually. When very weak stimuli, close to the level necessary for detection by the subject, the input from the two fingers produced additive or facilitatory interactions in the early components of the cerebral potential. These results suggest that there is convergence between the afferent inputs from the index and middle fingers along the somatosensory pathway. At levels of stimulation comparable to those which produced facilitation in the electrophysiological studies, simultaneous stimulation to both fingers was detected significantly more frequently than would be expected from the detection of stimulation to individual fingers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory
  • Fingers / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Psychophysics
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Skin / innervation*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*