Jeffrey Min-In Yau, Ph.D.
Department of Neuroscience
Baylor College of Medicine
“Bimanual touch and cortical encoding models of sensory cue integration”
Our remarkable manual dexterity is characterized in part by an ability to coordinate our use of two hands. While bimanual motor control has been well studied, far less is known about bimanual touch and the neural computations that mediate information processing over the hands. We found that tactile cues experienced on one hand automatically and systematically biased the perception of cues experienced concurrently on the other hand. Bimanual cutaneous interactions, which were feature-dependent and could be modulated by proprioception, were well-explained by cue integration models that incorporated canonical operations. Using computational neuroimaging, we found that activity in parietal and frontal cortex were consistent with population-level neural tuning for vibration frequency. Moreover, responses associated with bimanual cues were more consistent with cue integration rather than conjunctive coding. These collective results reveal the complex manner by which the nervous system combines sensory inputs over limbs, provide evidence for somatosensory frequency tuning in primates, and highlight candidate brain regions and neural mechanisms that mediate bimanual touch.