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ERIC Number: EJ776424
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 18
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0965
Tactile Sensitivity of Children: Effects of Frequency, Masking, and the Non-Pacinian I Psychophysical Channel
Guclu, Burak; Oztek, Cigdem
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, v98 n2 p113-130 Oct 2007
Tactile perception depends on the contributions of four psychophysical tactile channels mediated by four corresponding receptor systems. The sensitivity of the tactile channels is determined by detection thresholds that vary as a function of the stimulus frequency. It has been widely reported that tactile thresholds increase (i.e., sensitivity decreases) as a function of age. However, there is controversial evidence with regard to the progressive loss of sensitivity starting from childhood. In this study, the tactile thresholds of children (n=9, ages 7-11 years) were measured and compared with the thresholds of young adults (n=11, ages 21-27 years). The stimuli consisted of sinusoidal bursts of mechanical displacements, which were applied to the left index fingertips of the participants by using a cylindrical probe (base area=0.126cm[squared]) without a contactor surround. Absolute thresholds were measured at frequencies of 2, 10, 40, 100, 250, and 500Hz without masking. The absolute thresholds decreased at high frequencies and were similar to data from the literature except for some discrepancy because of methodological differences. In addition, the threshold of the non-Pacinian I channel was measured at 40Hz by elevating the thresholds of the Pacinian channel by forward masking. The effects of forward masking in children were similar to results in young adults. In conclusion, there were no significant differences between the tactile thresholds of children and those of young adults at key frequencies: 40Hz for the Pacinian and non-Pacinian I channels and 250Hz for the Pacinian channel. These findings contradict the hypothesis that there is gradual loss of tactile sensitivity starting from childhood to early adulthood. The loss of sensitivity due to aging probably is more abrupt and occurs at a later age.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A