Subjective localization of electrocutaneous stimuli


Steenbergen, P. and Klaassen, B. and Buitenweg, J.R. and Veltink, P. (2009) Subjective localization of electrocutaneous stimuli. In: Annual Symposium of the IEEE-EMBS Benelux Chapter 2009, 9-10 November 2009, Enschede, the Netherlands.

Abstract:Studying the perception of spatiotemporal stimulus patterns in various modalities may yield important information on the way in which humans process sensory information. The perception of tactile and nociceptive cutaneous stimulus patterns have been studied by Stolle et al. [1] and Trojan et al. [2][4] respectively. Among other things, both authors studied subjective localization of single stimuli. In Trojan et al. [4], two types of mislocalization patterns were observed for nociceptive single stimuli when comparing the localization reports with the stimulus locations: (1) overall proximal or distal displacement and (2) expansion or contraction of the stimulus area.
It is unknown whether tactile and nociceptive stimuli at the same skin site are perceived as being at the same site. Therefore, comparing the spatial perception of tactile and nociceptive cutaneous stimuli may provide new insights into their processing. This comparison can only be successfully made by applying nociceptive and tactile stimuli at the same skin site in the same experiment. This can be done by using a device which has recently been developed at our institute and which we refer to as the bimodal stimulation electrode [3].
Recording the perceived locations of stimuli can be done by letting subjects report these on a scale. The most intuitive scale for this is the stimulated arm itself. However, this would bias the perception of stimulus location by providing visual information of the electrode locations. The goal of the present research was to (1) create and (2) test a setup which allows subjects to report perceived stimulus locations on their own arm without seeing the electrode positions. This was achieved by building a setup consisting of a touch screen (Provision Visboard) which presents a digital image of the subject’s own arm (without electrodes) and which is positioned over this arm after the electrodes have been attached. Subjects can report the localizations by pointing at the screen using a pointer.
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Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)
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