Functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) has detected changes in regional cerebral blood flow and volume in response to motor movements, visual stimuli, and auditory stimuli in each of their respective primary cortices. This experiment was conducted to determine whether signal changes in the somatosensory cortex secondary to tactile stimulation could be demonstrated. The palm of the right hand was periodically stimulated while the subject was undergoing echo-planar imaging with a 1.5-T magnetic resonance scanner equipped with local gradient and radio frequency coils. Sagittal and coronal images of 10- to 15-mm slice thickness were selected to include the postcentral gyrus and surrounding regions. Temporally correlated signal changes of 1% to 5% occurred in the peri-rolandic region in each of six subjects. The time course of signal changes was comparable to that found in other primary sensory and motor cortices. The results provide preliminary evidence of the sensitivity of FMRI to activation of the somatosensory cortex with tactile stimulation and support FMRI as a promising noninvasive technique for study of the functional organization and integrity of the cerebrum.