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Sensorimotor Neurophysiology of Active Sensing



This tutorial is comprised of three 50-minute lectures on topics selected to provide the key background information needed to appreciate neural mechanisms for processing somatosensory information.  Concepts include efference copy, receptor adaptation, spinal circuit operations, and multimodal cortical processing.  Collated, hard copies of lecture notes will be provided.  Each speaker will also give an introduction to his or her research program and invite questions. 


Many haptics investigators have little or no formal training in neurophysiology. Thus the goal of this tutorial is to have active investigators of sensorimotor neurophysiology provide up-to-date information on key topics.

Primary Objectives

To convey a deeper understanding of basic neural mechanisms for processing somatosensory and motor signals.

Target Audience

Investigators with backgrounds in engineering or psychology, but little or no training in neurophysiology.

Schedule Description
 8:30- 9:30 Martha Flanders

Receptors, spinal cord, dorsal column nuclei, cerebellum, thalamus and cortex, efference copy, neural comparison and feature extraction


Steve Perlmutter

Receptors and Spinal Cord
Action potential generation, receptor function and adaptation (rapid vs. slow), ascending somatosensory projections, spinal reflex circuitry


Steve Helms Tillery

Cerebral Cortex
Primary somatosensory cortex and perception, other somatosensory areas, interactions with other cortical areas