What is it about?

Knowing where we are touched (i.e. tactile localization) is a basic perceptual process. Although in many situations action and perception work together, creating a sensorimotor loop, tactile localization has mostly been conceptualized as a purely perceptual task, neglecting that the act of localization creates new, potentially useful sensory information. Here we "closed the loop": participants actively searched for a touched spot on the skin and localized more accurately.

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Why is it important?

This research questions the artificial separation of perception and action by showing that even in seemingly perceptual tasks perception and action complement each other and that artificially separating them risks underestimating humans' sensorimotor accuracy.


This research evokes various questions about distinctions between "passive" and "active" modes of tactile perception and the representation of the body in space. Future research might test whether well-known distortions in body representations depend on the mode of localization.

Xaver Fuchs
Universitat Bielefeld

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Online sensory feedback during active search improves tactile localization., Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance, July 2020, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000739.
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