This electrophysiological technique involves inserting a fine tungsten microelectrode, with a tip diameter of less than 5 μm, through the skin into an underlying nerve/fascicle, enabling the recording of single-unit activity, either spontaneous or evoked by stimulation in the unit’s receptive field. A sensitive biological amplifier amplifies the nerve discharges for subsequent recording and analysis. A further capability with microneurography is that of direct electrical stimulation of a single unit – called intraneural microstimulation (INMS) using uA levels of current, – allowing direct measures of the relationship between nerve activation and stimulus perception. The lab is one of the first in the UK to have such a capability. We are using this unique technique to investigate the peripheral nerve activity behind social touch and pain and its relationship to conscious perceptual experience.
A Microneurography Experiment: the electrodes are recording from within the lateral cutaneous nerve of the forearm while the participant is awake, comfortable and fully responsive. The activity of a single hair unit can be seen & heard in response to the brush strokes delivered by a Robotic Tactile Stimulator (RTS).