Vibrotactile Sensitivity of the Head

Report No. ARL-TR-4696
Authors: Kimberly Myles; Joel T. Kalb
Date/Pages: January 2009; 28 pages
Abstract: The brain rarely processes events of the physical world using signals from a single sensory modality. While the visual and auditory modalities are considered frequently in communication research, the tactile modality is considered the least as a possible mode of communication. In addition, previous studies of tactile sensitivity and solutions in utilizing the tactile modality have been focused on torso and limb locations. However, there are currently no tactile sensitivity data for the head. The goal of the present study was to investigate tactile sensitivity of the various locations on the head and the effect of signal frequency on the tactile threshold. An adaptive psychophysical procedure was used to determine differences in tactile sensitivity at various points on the head. Obtained results indicate that the crown of the scalp is less sensitive to vibration than the areas near the forehead, temples, and lower part of the back of the head.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: January 1, 2009