Active and passive dynamic touch

This project focuses on the development of (1) novel techniques to generate tactile sensations such as the perception of textures (2) novel approaches to explore the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the sense of touch at the level of the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system and (3) novel signal-processing methods and computational neuroscience techniques to characterize the neural encoding of the tactile input generated by finger interactions with tactile displays. It is increasingly recognized that the active perception of textures emerges from the vibrations induced by sliding the finger on the textured surface. Based on the recording of SS-EPs, we developed a new method co characterize the cortical activity related to tactile processing using a wide variety of textures, ranging from gratings to natural textures. Our experiments were conducted in passive dynamic touch, i.e. passive presentation of the stimuli by a high-precision force-feedback platform. Our results have shown that a significant part of the recorded brain responses reflect the processing of the texture-induced vibrations that are generated on our skin. Currently, our aim is to better understand the cortical differences between “active” and “passive” touch, i.e. dynamic touch with and without voluntary movement using matching stimuli, with the help of the force platform.

Researchers involved


Journal of the Royal Society Interface

The Tactile Perception of Transient Changes in Friction


Gueorguiev D, Vezzoli E, Mouraux A, Lemaire-Semail B, Thonnard JL.

14(137). pii: 20170641

Nature : Scientific Reports

Touch uses frictional cues to discriminate flat materials


Gueorguiev D, Bochereau S, Mouraux A, Hayward V, Thonnard JL.


Nature : Scientific Reports

EEG frequency tagging to explore the cortical activity related to the tactile exploration of natural textures


Moungou A, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A.


Journal of Neurophysiology

Peripheral vs. central determinants of vibrotactile adaptation


Klocker A, Gueorguiev D, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A.


IEEE Haptics Symposium

A novel method using EEG to characterize the cortical processes involved in active and passive touch


Moungou A, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A.

IEEE - Haptic Symposium 2016, Apr 2016, Philadelphia, United States

IEEE World Haptics Conference

Using EEG (SS-EPs) to characterize the brain activity in response to textured stimuli in passive touch


Moungou A, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A.

7177700: 113-118

Behavioural Brain Researchearch

Tactile roughness discrimination threshold is unrelated to tactile spatial acuity


Libouton X, Barbier O, Plaghki L, Thonnard JL.

208(2): 473-478

Institute of Neuroscience (IONS) - Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)