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Introduction: The World of Touch

  • Tony J. Prescott
  • Volker Dürr
Chapter
Part of the Scholarpedia book series (SCHP)

Abstract

Despite its behavioural significance and omnipresence throughout the animal kingdom, the sense of touch is still one of the least studied and understood modalities. There are multiple forms of touch, and the mechanosensory basis underlying touch perception must be divided into several distinct sub-modalities (such as vibration or pressure), as will be made clear by the contributions elsewhere in this encyclopaedia. The commonality of all touch sensing systems is that touch experience is mediated by specialised receptors embedded in the integument—the outer protective layers of the animal such as the mammalian skin or the arthropod cuticle. Comparative research on touch, and its neuroethology, is only just beginning to provide a larger picture of the different forms of touch sensing within the animal kingdom. We begin our volume by reviewing works on several different invertebrate and vertebrate species, focusing on mechanosensation, each one with a specific requirement for tactile information. The aim of this introductory overview is to give selected examples of research on important model organisms from various classes of the animal kingdom, ranging from the skin of worms to the feelers of insects, and from the whiskers of a rat to the human hand. We conclude by discussing forms of human touch and the possibility of its future extension via synthetic systems.

Keywords

Glabrous Skin Lateral Line System Aquatic Mammal Insect Antenna Important Model Organism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Internal References

  1. Ahissar, E; Shinde, N and Haidarliu, S (2015). Systems neuroscience of touch. Scholarpedia 10: 32785. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Systems_Neuroscience_of_Touch. (see also pages 401–405 of this book).
  2. Barth, F G (2015). A spider’s tactile hairs. Scholarpedia 10(3): 7267. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/A_spider%27s_tactile_hairs. (see also pages 65–81 of this book).
  3. Bensmaia, S (2009). Texture from touch. Scholarpedia 4(8): 7956. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Texture_from_touch. (see also pages 207–215 of this book).
  4. Brembs, B (2014). Aplysia operant conditioning. Scholarpedia 9(1): 4097. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Aplysia_operant_conditioning.
  5. Cheok, A and Pradana, G A (2015). Virtual touch. Scholarpedia 10: 32679. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Virtual_touch. (see also pages 837–849 of this book).
  6. Crish, C M; Crish, S D and Comer, C M (2015). Tactile sensing in the naked mole rat. Scholarpedia 10(3): 7164. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Tactile_sensing_in_the_naked_mole_rat. (see also pages 95–101 of this book).
  7. Derbyshire, S (2014). Painful touch. Scholarpedia 9(3): 7962. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Painful_touch. (see also pages 249–255 of this book).
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  10. Haidarliu, S (2015). Whisking musculature. Scholarpedia 10(4): 32331. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Whisking_musculature. (see also pages 627–639 of this book).
  11. Hanke, W and Dehnhardt, G (2015). Vibrissal touch in pinnipeds. Scholarpedia 10(3): 6828. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Vibrissal_touch_in_pinnipeds. (see also pages 125–139 of this book).
  12. Heller, M and Ballesteros, S (2012). Visually-impaired touch. Scholarpedia 7(11): 8240. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Visually-impaired_touch. (see also pages 387–397 of this book).
  13. Kappers, A and Bergmann Tiest, W (2014). Shape from touch. Scholarpedia 9(1): 7945. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Shape_from_touch. (see also pages 197–206 of this book).
  14. Kim, Y and Harders, M (2015). Haptic displays. Scholarpedia 10: 32376. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Haptic_Displays. (see also pages 817–827 of this book).
  15. Klatzky, R and Reed, C L (2009). Haptic exploration. Scholarpedia 4(8): 7941. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Haptic_exploration. (see also pages 177–183 of this book).
  16. Knutsen, P (2015). Whisking kinematics. Scholarpedia 10: 7280. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Whisking_kinematics. (see also pages 615–625 of this book).
  17. Kra, Y; Arieli, A and Ahissar, E (2015). Tactile substitution for vision. Scholarpedia 10: 32457. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Tactile_Substitution_for_Vision. (see also pages 829–836 of this book).
  18. Lacey, S and Sathian, K (2015). Crossmodal and multisensory interactions between vision and touch. Scholarpedia 10(3): 7957. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Crossmodal_and_multisensory_interactions_between_vision_and_touch. (see also pages 301–315 of this book).
  19. Lepora, N (2015). Active tactile perception. Scholarpedia 10: 32364. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Active_tactile_perception. (see also pages 151–159 of this book).
  20. Martinez-Hernandez, U (2015). Tactile sensors. Scholarpedia 10: 32398. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Tactile_Sensors. (see also pages 783–796 of this book).
  21. Moayedi, Y; Nakatani, M and Lumpkin, E (2015). Mammalian mechanoreception. Scholarpedia 10: 7265. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Mammalian_mechanoreception. (see also pages 423–435 of this book).
  22. Okada, J (2009). Cockroach antennae. Scholarpedia 4(10): 6842. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Cockroach_antennae. (see also pages 31–43 of this book).
  23. Pipe, T and Pearson, M (2015). Whiskered robots. Scholarpedia 10: 6641. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Whiskered_robots. (see also pages 809–815 of this book).
  24. Prescott, T J; Mitchinson, B and Grant, R A (2011). Vibrissal behavior and function. Scholarpedia 6(10): 6642. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Vibrissal_behavior_and_function. (see also pages 103–116 of this book).
  25. Ramachandran, V S and Brang, D (2009). Phantom touch. Scholarpedia 4(10): 8244. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Phantom_touch. (see also pages 377–386 of this book).
  26. Reep, R and Sarko, D K (2009). Tactile hair in manatees. Scholarpedia 4(4): 6831. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Tactile_hair_in_Manatees. (see also pages 141–148 of this book).
  27. Roth-Alpermann, C and Brecht, M (2009). Vibrissal touch in the Etruscan shrew. Scholarpedia 4(11): 6830. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Vibrissal_touch_in_the_Etruscan_shrew. (see also pages 117–123 of this book).
  28. van Stralen, H and Dijkerman, C (2011). Central touch disorders. Scholarpedia 6(10): 8243. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Central_touch_disorders. (see also pages 363–376 of this book).
  29. Wilson, S and Moore, C (2015). S1 somatotopic maps. Scholarpedia 10: 8574. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/S1_somatotopic_maps. (see also pages 565–576 of this book).

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Copyright information

© Atlantis Press and the author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Bielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

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