A new study has discovered that touch is more sensitive than initially understood, highlighting how we tend to limit the use of this critical receptor.


The sense of touch is critical to how we interact and interpret the world around us. Our traditional understanding of touch has significantly increased following research by Dr Ewa Jarocka and her colleagues from Sweden's Umea University. We've known that the sensitivity at the tips of our fingers is related to receptors called neurons, but it was unclear how each neuron could detect a structure. Dr Jarocka matched individual nerve fibres that contact the mechanoreceptors in the fingertips to match the troughs and ridges to the fingertips. She concluded that fingerprints are the most sensitive areas and can detect the smallest structures. 

An implication of this research is the loss of touch sensitivity when fingerprints are directly in touch with a surface. This research can lead to a better understanding of how wearing gloves might affect our sense of touch and how we can compensate for this loss of touch.