Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Psychology: The Science of Human Behaviour
Givler, Robert Ch.
variety of structures, including sense organs and 
capillaries. The skin of the body is one of the great 
reservoirs of blood. During sleep the skin is sur¬ 
charged with blood, and hot baths also bring it to 
the surface. 
The sense of pressure may be demonstrated in at 
least two ways. One is by touching the skin lightly 
here and there with either a blunt lead pencil point 
or a coarse bristle ; the other method is to lift a hair 
gently until the skin is seen to be raised at that point. 
Indeed, if we avert our face while some one else is 
testing our pressure sense, we cannot distinguish 
the difference between pressure with a bristle or pull 
on a hair. The sensation of pressure is not found 
everywhere on the skin, surprising as this may seem. 
If you explore the skin of another person with a 
blunt object, point by point and line by line, you will 
find that there are many spots where no sensation will 
be registered. Of course the exploration must be ex¬ 
tremely gentle and uniform to demonstrate this fact. 
What, now, is the nervous mechanism of touch, 
and what is the motor response without which pres¬ 
sures and pulls cannot be felt as sensations ? Below 
the surface of the skin are many tiny little organs 
for the reception of pressure, about which the den¬ 
drites of sensory nerves are twined. When a touch 
stimulus is applied to the skin, its surfacefis either 
depressed (as in the case of the blunt pencil point) 
or lifted (as when a hair is pulled), and this defor¬ 
mation disturbs ever so slightly the position of the 
tiny sense organs and the nerve fibers twined about 
them. This starts a nervous impulse which is car¬ 
ried to the spinal cord and back to the region of the 
touch spot. Underneath the skin there are strands 
of muscular tissue, to which the returning motor


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