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Sensation at the tips of invisible tools


When we touch something with a tool, we feel the touch at the tip of the tool1,2, rather than at the hand that holds the tool. Here we show that the judgment of the temporal order of two successive stimuli, delivered to the tips of sticks held in each hand, was dramatically altered by crossing the sticks without changing the positions of the hands, where the actual mechanoreceptors are located. This provides experimental evidence for the referral of tactile signals to the tip of a tool in the hand.

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Figure 1: The temporal order judgment of two stimuli delivered to the tips of two drumsticks with the sticks uncrossed (a, b)/crossed (c, d) and with the arms uncrossed (a, c)/crossed (b, d).


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This work was partly supported by an HFSP Research Grant to S.K. We thank K. Kawano for comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Shinya Yamamoto.

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Yamamoto, S., Kitazawa, S. Sensation at the tips of invisible tools. Nat Neurosci 4, 979–980 (2001).

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