Sensory Lab with Mia

Hi!  Last class my class did a lab in partners.  We were testing the nerve sensitivity receptors on our fingertips, back of our hands, and forearms.  My partner, Mia, and I believed that our fingertips would be the most sensitive, and our forearms would be least sensitive.  We figured out this information by using paper clips and rulers.  Here are the step below:

  1. Get paper clip and ruler.
  2. Pick one partner to go first.
  3. Make the ends of the paper clip 2 cm apart.
  4. Partner closes eyes, and you touch the body part (fingertip, back of hand, forearm) 10x total.  Switch between using one end of the paperclip and two, do not let partner know the order of the sides.  Partner tells you if they felt one or two touches and you log in what they felt into the table.
  5. Change 2cm to 1.5cm, put what the partner feels in the table.
  6. Change 1.5cm to 1cm, put what the partner feels in the table.
  7. Change 1cm to 0.5cm, put what partner feels in the table.
  8. Change 0.5 to 0.3, put what partner feels in table.


2016-02-04 14.34.28

The shortest distance at which I could detect two ends of the clip at least 3 times was:

Back of hand: 0.3

Fingertip: 0.3

Forearm: 0.3


The shortest distance at which my partner could detect two ends of the clip at least 3 times was:

Back of hand: 0.3

Fingertip: 0.3

Forearm: 0.5

  1. Do your results support the prediction you made in Pre-Lab Question 1 about which area of skin would have the highest density of sense receptors? Explain.

    I had said that the fingertip would be the most sensitive out of the 3, and I was correct. Our hands touch things the most, so they would be the most sensitive. We can feel if something is hot or cold with our hands.

  2. Why do you think that humans have a higher density of receptors for touch in some areas of skin than in other areas?
    I believe that we have high density and low density of nerve receptors in different areas because of how we touch things. We would need high density nerve receptors in our hands because we touch things the most there. Our forearms would not need a high amount of nerve receptors because we do not use our arms to touch things.
  3. Do your results and those of your partner support the prediction you made in Pre- Lab Question 3? Explain.
    I believed that the nerve receptors in our bodies would be the same with everyone. I realized that I have much less nerve receptors than my partner. I couldn’t tell some of the pokes from one or two.
  4. What factors could account for variation in sensitivity to touch from one person to another?
    The reasons that we all do not have the same amount of nerve receptors is because of our skin types, our nationalities, and our genders.
  5. How might activities such as playing a guitar, laying bricks, preparing food, or playing video games affect a person’s sensitivity to touch?
    Doing too much of one thing can damage the persons sensitivity in their hands. I used to play guitar and my finger tips are not as sensitive as they use to be.
  6. The phrase thick skinned is used to describe people who are not easily affected by other people’s criticisms. Relate this meaning of thick skinned to how areas of thickened skin could affect a person’s sense of touch.
    Being thick skinned can affect a persons sense of touch because their nerve receptors are below the skin. If the skin is too thick, the nerve receptors cannot do their job.
  7. Automobile dashboards have many control knobs and buttons. Drivers might be involved in fewer accidents if they did not have to look at these controls to adjust the temperature or change the station on the radio. What could dashboard designers do to make it easier for drivers to keep their eyes on the road?
    Each dashboard has buttons and knobs. If the dashboards took the outline of the symbol and popped it up, the person could feel for what they were looking for. If the person was looking for the seat warmer, there would be a shape of a seat on a button for them to feel. Once they find the button, they press it.

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