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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2006 Aug;16(4):435-44. Epub 2006 Jul 11.

Active sensation: insights from the rodent vibrissa sensorimotor system.

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Department of Physics, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive 0374, La Jolla, 92093, USA.


Rats sweep their vibrissae through space to locate objects in their immediate environment. In essence, their view of the proximal world is generated through pliable hairs that tap and palpate objects. The texture and shape of those objects must be discerned for the rat to assess the value of the object. Furthermore, the location of those objects must be specified with reference to the position of the rat's head for the rat to plan its movements. Recent in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological measurements provide insight into the algorithms and mechanisms that underlie these behavioral-based computations.

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