According to researchers, the responses to virtual touch occurred 50 to 70 milliseconds later than physical touch, This gap of time is consistent with the timing involved in the pathways linking the areas of the brain responsible for processing visual input to the somatosensory (five senses areas) and motor(movement control areas) cortices.
This shows that somatosensory and motor cortical neurons respond to visual stimuli without actually being physically touched. This ability of cross-functional processing occurs throughout the primate cortex through a highly distributed and dynamic neuronal communication process.
“The brain works like a grid or network that is continuously interacting,” Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., PhD said. “The cortical areas of the brain are processing multiple streams of information at the same time”
Editor’s comment: If brain grid senses and responses to stimuli on and off the body, this may also explain how sensory overload might confuse and overwhelm a tired brain and emotional taxed system.
Reference: MedicalXpress.com http://goo.gl/nKXklz
Senior author Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., PhD, professor of neurobiology at Duke University School of Medicine.