Tactile discrimination of grating orientation: fMRI activation patterns

Minming Zhang, Erica Mariola, Randall Stilla, Mark Stoesz, Hui Mao, Xiaoping Hu, K. Sathian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Grating orientation discrimination is employed widely to test tactile spatial acuity. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural circuitry underlying performance of this task. Two studies were carried out. In the first study, an extensive set of parietal and frontal cortical areas was activated during covert task performance, relative to a rest baseline. The active regions included the postcentral sulcus bilaterally and foci in the left parietal operculum, left anterior intraparietal sulcus, and bilateral premotor and prefrontal cortex. The second study examined selective recruitment of cortical areas during discrimination of grating orientation (a task with a macrospatial component) compared to discrimination of grating spacing (a purely microspatial task). The foci activated on this contrast were in the left anterior intraparietal sulcus, right postcentral sulcus and gyrus, left parieto-occipital cortex, bilateral frontal eye fields, and bilateral ventral premotor cortex. These findings not only confirm and extend previous studies of the neural processing underlying grating orientation discrimination, but also demonstrate that a distributed network of putatively rnultisensory areas is involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-377
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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