Haptically evoked activation of visual cortex

  • Simon Lacey
  • Krish Sathian


Thanks to the acceleration of research into multisensory processing in recent years, the idea that the brain is organized around parallel processing of separate sensory inputs is giving way to the concept of a ‘metamodal’ brain [1] organized around particular tasks in a modality-independent fashion. For example, it is now apparent that many cortical areas previously thought to be specialized for processing specific aspects of visual input are also activated during analogous haptic or tactile tasks. In this chapter, we review the circumstances in which haptic or tactile tasks are associated with visual cortical activity and what this means for our internal representation of the external world, i.e., how information about objects and events in the external world is stored in memory. By ‘haptic’, we mean tasks involving active motor exploration of stimuli, whereas ‘tactile’ refers here to tasks in which stimuli are applied to the passive finger or other skin surface.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Visual Cortex Mental Rotation Visual Imagery Intraparietal Sulcus 
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Selected Readings

  1. Calvert G, Spence C, Stein BE (eds) (2004) The handbook of multisensory processes. MIT Press, Massachusetts, Chapters 8, 44 and 45Google Scholar
  2. Heller MA, Ballesteros S (eds) (2006) Touch and blindness: psychology and neuroscience. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ Chapters 7–9Google Scholar
  3. Rieser JJ, Ashmead DH, Ebner FF, Corn AL (eds) (2007) Blindness and brain plasticity in navigation and object recognition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Lacey
    • 1
  • Krish Sathian
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of RehabilitationEmory UniversityAtlanta
  3. 3.Department of MedicineEmory UniversityAtlanta
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyEmory UniversityAtlanta
  5. 5.Rehabilitation R&D Center of ExcellenceAtlanta VAMCDecaturUSA

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