Perception is an active process. Typically, a subject forms expectations about the world and – based on them - applies suitable strategies to optimize information acquisition. One class of such strategies is sensor movements which can be studied expediently in mice and rats as they use voluntary whisker movements to explore their tactile environment. We hypothesize that these animals move their whiskers in a task dependent way and thus maximize the amount of information about the world. To understand how they go about this task, we need to know which physical aspects of the tactile signal they use. Second, we must establish whether and how these physical aspects are amenable to manipulation by applying different whisking strategies. Finally, we need to understand how the thus encoded signals lead to the animal’s perceptual decision. I will give an overview of our efforts toward answering these questions using experiments in awake operantly conditioned rodents in which we precisely monitor the animal’s sensory input, motor and perceptual read-out, and relevant neuronal activity within the sensorimotor system.