Alpha stimulation of the human parietal cortex attunes tactile perception to external space

Ruzzoli, M. and Soto-Faraco, S. (2014) Alpha stimulation of the human parietal cortex attunes tactile perception to external space. Current Biology, 24(3), pp. 329-332. (doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.029) (PMID:24440394)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


An intriguing question in neuroscience concerns how somatosensory events on the skin are represented in the human brain. Since Head and Holmes’ [1] neuropsychological dissociation between localizing touch on the skin and localizing body parts in external space, touch is considered to operate in a variety of spatial reference frames [2]. At least two representations of space are in competition during orienting to touch: a somatotopic one, reflecting the organization of the somatosensory cortex (S1) [3], and a more abstract, external reference frame that factors postural changes in relation to body parts and/or external space [4, 5]. Previous transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies suggest that the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) plays a key role in supporting representations as well as orienting attention in an external reference frame [4, 6]. Here, we capitalized on the TMS entrainment approach [7, 8], targeting the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). We found that frequency-specific (10 Hz) tuning of the PPC induced spatially specific enhancement of tactile detection that was expressed in an external reference frame. This finding establishes a tight causal link between a concrete form of brain activity (10 Hz oscillation) and a specific type of spatial representation, revealing a fundamental property of how the parietal cortex encodes information.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by grants from the European Research Council (StG-2010 263145), the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (PSI2010-15426), and the Comissionat per a Universitats i Recerca del DIUE-Generalitat de Catalunya (SRG2009-092) to S.S.-F.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ruzzoli, Dr Manuela
Authors: Ruzzoli, M., and Soto-Faraco, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Current Biology
ISSN (Online):1879-0445
Published Online:16 January 2014

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record