Author(s): Bolanowski SJ, Verrillo RT, McGlone F
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Abstract A series of experiments are described in which magnitude estimates of the perceived size of steel balls were made when the balls were actively rolled between the fingertip and several other body sites (thumb, thenar eminence, forearm). This movement, called scripting, involves actively moving an object by a touching surface over another surface of the body which is passively being touched. We define this active/passive activity as "intra-active touch" and the results show that the perceptual size of the balls is dependent upon the body part passively being activated. An additional series of experiments decoupled the actively generated and passively received tactile information by having subjects either perform the scripting on another individual's body site or by having the other individual roll the balls on the subject's various sites. The latter experiments showed that the passive body can contribute to the overall impression of the size of the balls, but only when the intra-active touching involved the glabrous skin of the hands. Intra-active touch between the active finger and the passively touched hairy skin of the forearm showed no effect of the touched surface on the perceived size of the balls. The results suggest that the mechanisms of intra-active touch are different when glabrous skin activates glabrous skin than when glabrous skin activates hairy skin.
This article was published in Behav Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Psychiatry