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Vibrotactile adaptation on the face

Abstract

Threshold amplitude for vibration is elevated if testing is preceded by extended exposure to a vibratory adapting stimulus of appropriate amplitude and frequency. This phenomenon, previously studied almost exclusively on the hand, is here shown for the first time to occur on the face as well. Adaptation is then used analytically to determine that the two-branched threshold. versus-frequency function obtained on the face by Verrillo and Ecker (1977) represents the activity of two distinct mechanisms. Action spectra of vibrotactile adaptation reveal the presence of both mechanisms even in subjects whose unadapted threshold function (like that reported by Barlow, 1987) shows no sign of duplexity. Finally, the data suggest that on the face (unlike the hand), cross-channel adaptation may occur at high adapting amplitudes.

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This research was supported by U.S. Public Health Service Grant DE-07509, and by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to K. A. Delemos.

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Hollins, M., Delemos, K.A. & Goble, A.K. Vibrotactile adaptation on the face. Perception & Psychophysics 49, 21–30 (1991). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03211612

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03211612

Keywords

  • Test Stimulus
  • Action Spectrum
  • Threshold Function
  • Spatial Summation
  • Threshold Elevation