The way the sense of touch works is complex. Simply put, a stimulus triggers activity in a sensory neuron, which then passes to the part of the brain that’s assigned to the proper body location.
- The sense of touch is the first to develop in humans at about 8 weeks into the gestation period.
- Touch stimulates the brain to release endorphins.
- Blood pressure and heart rate can be reduced by a touch.
- Whiskers are used by animals for tactile sensing for a number of survival purposes, including navigation, detecting water currents, and texture discrimination. Research is still ongoing to determine even more purposes for whiskers.
- Grasshoppers have hairs all over the outside of their bodies to detect air movement.