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Neural substrates of tactile imagery: a functional MRI study

Yoo, Seung-SchikCA; Freeman, Daniel K.1; McCarthy, James J. III1; Jolesz, Ferenc A.


fMRI investigation on the neural substrates involved in tactile imagery is reported. Healthy subjects performed mental imagery of tactile stimulation on the dorsal aspect of the right hand. The results were compared with the regions of activation during the actual tactile stimulation. During imagery, contralateral primary and secondary somatosensory areas were activated along with activation in the left parietal lobe. Activations in left inferior frontal gyri (Brodmann's area 44), left dorsolateral prefrontal area, left precentral gyrus, left insula, and medial frontal gyrus were also observed. In the basal ganglia, activation in the left thalamus (ventral posteromedial nucleus) and putamen was found. Our results suggest that the primary and secondary somatosensory areas are recruited during tactile imagery, and have partially overlapping neural substrates for the perception of tactile stimulation.

Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

CACorresponding Author:

Received 25 November 2002; accepted 15 January 2003

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.