Behavioral assessment of sensitivity to intracortical microstimulation of primate somatosensory cortex

Sungshin Kim, Thierri Callier, Gregg A. Tabot, Robert A. Gaunt, Francesco V. Tenore, Sliman J. Bensmaia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) is a powerful tool to investigate the functional role of neural circuits and may provide a means to restore sensation for patients for whom peripheral stimulation is not an option. In a series of psychophysical experiments with nonhuman primates, we investigate how stimulation parameters affect behavioral sensitivity to ICMS. Specifically, we deliver ICMS to primary somatosensory cortex through chronically implanted electrode arrays across a wide range of stimulation regimes. First, we investigate how the detectability of ICMS depends on stimulation parameters, including pulse width, frequency, amplitude, and pulse train duration. Then, we characterize the degree to which ICMS pulse trains that differ in amplitude lead to discriminable percepts across the range of perceptible and safe amplitudes. We also investigate how discriminability of pulse amplitude is modulated by other stimulation parameters-namely, frequency and duration. Perceptual judgments obtained across these various conditions will inform the design of stimulation regimes for neuroscience and neuroengineering applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15202-15207
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number49
StatePublished - 2015 Dec 8
Externally publishedYes


  • Brainmachine interfaces
  • Just noticeable difference
  • Neuroprosthetics
  • Psychophysics
  • Threshold


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