A first line of research investigates how spatial coordinates of touch are transformed across spatial references frames at successive stages of tactile processing. Similar to the remapping of retinotopic coordinates of visual input, necessary to maintain visual stability across eye movements, touch also needs to be remapped as we move, i.e., from skin-based (e.g., a tickle on the right arm) to visual space (e.g., a tickle on the right arm which is currently raised above the head). This is necessary because the location of touch varies relative to the body and objects in the environment, as we move. The characterization of this process, including its timings and neural bases are central topics of my research (e.g., Azañón & Soto-Faraco, 2008, Curr Biol; Azañón et al., 2010, Eur J Neurosci; Azañón et al., 2010, Curr Biol).
- A second line of research investigates the role of visual and motoric information in the process and formation of tactile spatial perception in healthy individuals, both at early stages of development (Azañón et al., 2017, Child Development), and during adulthood (e.g., Azañón & Soto-Faraco, 2007, Exp Brain Res; Azañón et al., 2015, Curr Biol). Moreover, I have devoted part of my research connecting tactile spatial perception to higher levels of spatial cognition and body representation (Azañón et al., 2016, Cognition; Azañón et al., 2016, JEP:HPP), including the role that vision of the body has in the perception of our body image (in particular the effect of the thin body ideal, which is shaped and reinforced by many social influences).
- In parallel, we are working on the role that prior information have in the perception of tactile and visual events (see the newly funded project in this topic in the Research tab), and in the distinction between lower and higher level sensory processing in touch (Calzolari, Azañón, et al., 2017, PNAS).