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With this experiment, test your skin's ability to perceive whether an object is hot or cold.
Your brain just received confusing messages from your hands about what the temperature of the third glass was. The hand originally holding the hot glass told you the third glass was cold, whereas the hand originally holding the cold glass told you the third glass was hot. But they were both touching the same glass. How can this be?
You received these confusing messages because our skin does not perceive the exact temperature of an object. Instead, your skin can sense the difference in temperature of a new object in comparison to the temperature of an object the skin was already used to ("relative temperature"). This is why entering a body of water, such as a pool or lake, seems really cold at first (your body was used to the warmer air) but then gradually "warms up" after being in the water for a while (your body adjusts to the temperature of the water).
Is your skin equally sensitive all over your body? Try this experiment to find out more about how well your skin perceives touch.
|1 mm||2 mm||3 mm||4 mm||5 mm||10 mm|
|Tip of Finger|
|Palm of Hand|
The ability to distinguish between one point or two points of sensation depends on how dense mechanoreceptors are in the area of the skin being touched. You most likely found that certain areas of your body are much more sensitive to touch than other areas. Highly sensitive areas such as the fingertips and tongue can have as many as 100 pressure receptors in one cubic centimeter. Less sensitive areas, such as your back, can have as few as 10 pressure receptors in one cubic centimeter. Because of this, areas such as your back are much less responsive to touch and can gather less information about what is touching it than your fingertips can.