Chennai: A new study has revealed a mutual relationship between eye movements and the sense of touch.
Tiny eye movements can be used as an index of humans’ ability to anticipate relevant information in the environment independent of the information’s sensory modalities like light, sound, taste, temperature, pressure and smell.
According to Stephanie Badde, an NYU post-doctoral researcher and first author of a study published in journal Nature Communications, “this connection between the eyes and touch reveals a surprising link across perception, cognition, and action.”
“The fact that tiny eye movements can hinder our ability to discriminate tactile stimuli, and that the suppression of those eye movements before an anticipated tactile stimulus can enhance that same ability, may reflect that common brain areas, as well as common neural and cognitive resources, underlie both eye movements and the processing of tactile stimuli,” says Marisa Carrasco, a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University and the senior author of the paper.
Tactile stimulation activates the nerve signals beneath the skin’s surface and informs the body of different touch sensations that include texture, temperature and other touch-sensations.
The study asked human participants to distinguish between two kinds of vibrations (‘fast’—high frequency vs. ‘slow’—low frequency) that were produced by a device connected to their finger. The researchers then tracked even the tiniest of their involuntary eye movements, known as micro-saccades.