Chapter

Touch

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Abstract

This chapter describes different types of receptors for touch. The receptors for touch appear to be of two different types, bare nerve endings and Meissners corpuscles. The latter are coiled nerve endings containing little discs which are encapsulated. They are found in the fingers and other very sensitive areas. The Pacinian corpuscles are found under the skin and more deeply in certain parts of the body. They are also encapsulated and when looked at under a microscope have a layered appearance like an onion. It is considered that they are pressure receptors being stimulated by compression of the skin. Pain receptors are thought to be bare nerve endings. Cold and heat are possibly picked up by Ruffini and Krause endings or possibly bare nerve endings. Bare nerve endings are also found at the base of the hair follicle and are stimulated by the movement of the hair even if the skin itself has not been touched. It, therefore, seems that the different receptors help to differentiate the type of stimulus to some extent, although the brain is responsible for interpreting the information.

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