What is in a touch? Redundancy in sensory information during haptic exploration and its role for decision-making.

Tansu Celikel (celikel@usc.edu), Neurobiology, University of Southern California,

From sensory receptors in the periphery to the neurons in the brain, the nervous system is organized to encode and transmit information. To understand the nature of information encoding by the neurons processing haptic information, we developed unsupervised techniques to quantify sensory information on tactile organs in freely behaving animals and calculated the information content using Kullback-Leibler divergence following Bayesian update of priors. And finally, to question the functional role of redundant information in the encoded sensory stimulus, we employed a tactile decision-making task and showed that the redundancy in the spatial domain allows faster decision making.