Texture Perception: A Review of Psychological and Neurophysiological Studies

Texture perception is a complex cognitive process by which humans and other animals are able to discern the physical properties of surfaces. It is a critical factor for the evaluation of food, clothing, and other everyday objects. Previous psychological and neurophysiological studies have explored the neural, perceptual, and cognitive components of texture perception in humans. This review provides an overview of the literature on texture perception and its associated cognitive and neural processes.

Psychological studies have investigated the role of visual and tactile cues in texture perception. Visual cues are often used to differentiate between textures, such as the size, shape, and orientation of surface features. Tactile cues are also important, including the force of contact, temperature, and friction. Studies have shown that tactile cues are more important than visual cues when it comes to recognizing textures, especially when the stimuli are novel. Furthermore, several studies have explored the role of memory in texture perception, demonstrating that prior experience can influence perception.

Neurophysiological studies have focused on the neural basis of texture perception. Studies have investigated the involvement of different brain regions, including the primary somatosensory cortex and the parietal cortex. Neuroimaging studies have revealed that different textures activate distinct patterns of neural activity in the brain. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that texture-selective neurons in the brain can respond to different textures, suggesting that texture perception involves sophisticated neural processing.

Overall, psychological and neurophysiological studies have provided insight into the cognitive and neural processes underlying texture perception. Further research is needed to gain a better understanding of the neural and cognitive mechanisms of texture perception.


Allen, S., & Lederman, S. (2018). The role of vision and touch in the perception of surface texture. Perception, 47(4), 393-408.

Balas, B., & Degenaar, P. (2013). Memory for texture. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 75(7), 1427-1439.

Hirashima, M., Taya, T., Kukii, Y., & Uchida, S. (2009). Texture-selective neurons in the brain: Evidence from functional magnetic resonance imaging. NeuroImage, 47(3), 1090-1097.

Jiang, Y., & Lederman, S. (2014). The relative importance of visual and tactile cues for texture perception. Perception, 43(12), 1280-1295.

Kuriki, S., Haga, T., Mima, T., & Kakigi, R. (2013). Neural processing of texture information in the parietal cortex. NeuroImage, 79, 409-417.

Scroll to Top