I am considering the role of whiskers in the development of the mouse brain, and came across the following: 'we found that the signals sent to the brain by the whiskers during active touch differ from those transmitted during passive touch'

But I can't seem to find what the difference between active and passive touch is...

Thank you for any help :)

  • $\begingroup$ The afferents that go to the brain in case of active touch and passive touch are the same because both active touch and passive touch excite the same population of receptors in the skin. So the active touch and passive touch is differentiated by only the cognitive features of the person or animal! $\endgroup$
    – Abhishek
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ Could you reference the source where you read this and include it in your question? Thank you! $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


The difference is in whether the animal has voluntary control over the touch. If the animal touches another object by moving its body to initiate the touch, then the it is active touch. If the animal is touched without control over the movement (for example, a human experimenter grazing the whiskers with a finger), then the touch is passive.


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