Image_1_Illusory Motion Reversal in Touch.TIF

Psychophysical visual experiments have shown illusory motion reversal (IMR), in which the perceived direction of motion is the opposite of its actual direction. The tactile form of this illusion has also been reported. However, it remains unclear which stimulus characteristics affect the magnitude of IMR. We closely examined the effect of stimulus characteristics on IMR by presenting moving sinusoid gratings and random-dot patterns to 10 participants’ fingerpads at different spatial periods, speeds, and indentation depths. All participants perceived a motion direction opposite to the veridical direction some of the time. The illusion was more prevalent at spatial periods of 1 and 2 mm and at extreme speeds of 20 and 320 mm/s. We observed stronger IMR for gratings and much weaker IMR for a random-dot pattern, indicating that edge orientation might be a major contributor to this illusion. These results show that the optimal parameters for IMR are consistent with the characteristics of motion-selective neurons in the somatosensory cortex, as most of these neurons are also orientation-selective. We speculate that these neurons could be the neural substrate that accounts for tactile IMR.