Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972000 | Print ISBN: 9781412940818 | Online ISBN: 9781412972000| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
When we feel a breeze brush against our skin or when we sense the texture of a fabric while running our fingers across it, we do so, in part, on the basis of vibrations produced in our skin that are then converted into neural signals by specialized receptors. In the laboratory, the tactile perception of vibration (sometimes dubbed vibrotaction) has traditionally been investigated using sinusoidal stimuli, (i.e., stimuli that indent into and retract from the skin in regular intervals following a trajectory shaped like a sine wave). The advantage of a sinusoidal stimulus is that it can be defined using only two parameters: its frequency (the rate at which it oscillates into and out of the skin), and its amplitude (the maximum depth at which it indents the skin). The glabrous or hairless skin (of the palm and fingers, for example) has been the focus of most of the work ...