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



The Tactile Perception of Transient Changes in Friction

Journal of the Royal Society Interface

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

14(137). pii: 20170641


Touch uses frictional cues to discriminate flat materials

Nature : Scientific Reports

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



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

Nature : Scientific Reports

Moungou A, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A.



Peripheral vs. central determinants of vibrotactile adaptation

Journal of Neurophysiology

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



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

IEEE Haptics Symposium

Moungou A, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A.

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


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

IEEE World Haptics Conference

Moungou A, Thonnard JL, Mouraux A.

7177700: 113-118


Tactile roughness discrimination threshold is unrelated to tactile spatial acuity

Behavioural Brain Researchearch

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

208(2): 473-478

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