Current Projects – Supra–threshold hand vibration

Tactile channels mediating the perception of supra-threshold vibration

Extensive work has been carried out investigating psychophysical channels involved in hand-transmitted vibration perception. This work has succeeded in differentiating the roles of four tactile channels associated with four types of afferent nerve fibre found in the glabrous skin of the hand: the PC (Pacinian), RA (rapidly adapting), SA I and SA II (slowly adapting) channels. However, the majority of this work has focused on threshold detection of vibratory stimuli, and so far relatively few studies have directly examined how the psychophysical channels behave at supra-threshold levels of activation. Through the formulation and testing of a predictive model of supra-threshold channel activation, the current research will enhance knowledge of the mechanisms involved in hand-transmitted vibration perception, with a view to improving our understanding of the role of tactile channels at mundane levels of vibration exposure; likely to be above threshold in many circumstances.

Tristan Browne (PhD Student)