Magnitude estimation of contact force when objects with different shapes are applied passively to the fingerpad

Somatosens Mot Res. 1992;9(4):339-44. doi: 10.3109/08990229209144782.


Stimuli with spherically curved surfaces were presented passively to the fingerpads of human subjects. There were 28 stimuli, consisting of all combinations of 4 different curvatures and 7 different contact forces; these were presented in random order. Subjects scaled their perceived magnitude of the contact force using magnitude estimation. Perceived force increased markedly with an increase in experimentally applied contact force. An increase in curvature resulted in a slight increase in perceived contact force. Thus, when humans are passively presented with objects changing in both shape and contact force, they are able to extract information about the force. Because of the passive nature of the task, all such information must be conveyed to the brain by the cutaneous mechanoreceptors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fingers / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Pressure
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Stereognosis / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Weight Perception / physiology*