Surface sensitivity

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As surfaces sensitivity is defined as the detection of stimuli lying in the skin receptors . These receptors are divided into mechano , thermo and pain receptors , with the help of which pressure , touch and vibrations as well as temperature and pain can be felt . Surface sensitivity is part of exteroception . The mechanical part of the surface sensitivity is called the sense of touch , whereby the passive perception is called tactile (from Latin tangere , 'to touch') and the active perception is called haptic .

From a systematic point of view, surface sensitivity consists of a protopathic component (temperature and pain - mainly protecting the body and therefore "fast", but above all undifferentiated in the spatial sense) and an epicritical component ( tactile acuity , requires a little more time).


In humans and other mammals, tactile perception is made possible by mechanoreceptors in the skin . These include the so-called Merkel cells , Ruffini , Meissner and Vater-Pacini bodies , the information of which is transmitted to the CNS via class Aβ nerve fibers .

Protopathic sensations (temperature and pain) come from thermoreceptors and pain receptors . They are mediated by afferents of class Aδ and especially C via free nerve endings .

Structure of the human skin with lettering


The surface sensitivity can be disturbed due to damage to the nerves , the conduction pathways in the central nervous system or a lack of sensory integration . Perception can be increased ( hyperesthesia ) or decreased ( hypesthesia ), it can be absent ( anesthesia ) or abnormal sensations can occur ( paresthesia ).

With increased tactile perception, one also speaks of tactile defense . This oversensitivity results in a defensive attitude towards the stimuli received. This can be directed against contact by people, but also against materials (sand, mud, dust, paste, felt) or surfaces (metal, wood).

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: tactile  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b M. Gerstorfer: Crash Course Physiology. Urban & FischerVerlag, 2004, ISBN 3-437-43480-2 , p. 212, (online) .