When we touch something, how do sensations from our hands get translated into perceptions by our brains? Meet two scientists who are trying to answer that question with a curious tool: rat whiskers. Just like hands are to humans, whiskers are rats’ primary sensors of touch. Analyzing how whisker sensations get processed by rats’ brains is providing a powerful model that’s helping reveal the mysteries of our own sense of touch.

This video is based on:

"The Morphology of the Rat Vibrissal Array: A Model for Quantifying Spatiotemporal Patterns of Whisker-Object Contact," a paper published by Mitra Hartmann and colleagues in the online journal PLoS Computational Biology.

"Psychometric Curve and Behavioral Strategies for Whisker-Based Texture Discrimination in Rats," a paper published by Daniel Feldman and colleagues in the online journal PLoS ONE.

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