Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How a person remembers a touch

Date:
May 16, 2011
Source:
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Summary:
Neuroscientists have now been able for the first time to document deliberate control of touch sensations in human working memory.

Neuroscientists of the Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin have now been able for the first time to document deliberate control of touch sensations in human working memory. It has been shown that the human brain can remember several touch sensations at the same time and consciously retrieve the touch if concentration is focused on these touches.

"A new touch does not erase the memory of a previous touch from working memory.  Rather, new and old tactile memories can persist independently of each another, once a person's attention has registered the touches," said the study leader, whose work is now published in the current issue of the journal PNAS.

The scientists of the Department for Neurology and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience at the Charité pursued the question, in which form multiple touch sensations are represented in human working memory. Working memory is responsible, for example, for the temporary storage of information, which is important to understand the environment currently surrounding us. In the present experiment, the test persons were stimulated by tactile stimulation devices (i.e. animating to the sense of touch), such as those used for reading Braille, delivering vibrations of two different frequencies to the index fingers. After stimulation, the participants were told which of the two frequencies they should compare with a subsequent test frequency.

In early brain regions in the "feeling center," where the information of the sense of touch is first directed and processed, systematic changes in cerebral activity occurred when subjects remembered a touch. These changes in activity, which were seen in the so-called alpha rhythm in the early brain regions, were however still unspecific with respect to the task-relevant information.

The memory of different touches, with the distinction between the two frequencies with which the subjects have been stimulated, takes place in higher regions of the brain, in the so-called frontal lobes. Here the researchers could identify brain waves (oscillations) of a specific wavelength, the so-called beta rhythm, which were systematically modulated by the memory of the two different vibration frequencies. Of particular interest was the fact that the frontal beta activity is not limited to the most recently presented frequency. The test persons were also able to reproduce a previous frequency if they were asked to remember. These results indicate the existence of a quantitative tactile memory representation in the human frontal lobes. This memory representation can be controlled consciously. It is subject to the active control of individuals on the current contents of their memory.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Spitzer, F. Blankenburg. Stimulus-dependent EEG activity reflects internal updating of tactile working memory in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1104189108

Cite This Page:

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "How a person remembers a touch." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510101048.htm>.
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. (2011, May 16). How a person remembers a touch. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510101048.htm
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "How a person remembers a touch." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510101048.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins