Aging and curvature discrimination from static and dynamic touch

J.F. Norman, A.M.L. Kappers, J.R. Cheeseman, C. Ronning, K.E. Thomason, M.W. Baxter, A.B. Calloway, D.N. Lamirande

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    Abstract

    Two experiments evaluated the ability of 30 older and younger adults to discriminate the curvature of simple object surfaces from static and dynamic touch. The ages of the older adults ranged from 66 to 85 years, while those of the younger adults ranged from 20 to 29 years. For each participant in both experiments, the minimum curvature magnitude needed to reliably discriminate between convex and concave surfaces was determined. In Experiment 1, participants used static touch to make their judgments of curvature, while dynamic touch was used in Experiment 2. When static touch was used to discriminate curvature, a large effect of age occurred (the thresholds were 0.67 & 1.11/m for the younger and older participants, respectively). However, when participants used dynamic touch, there was no significant difference between the ability of younger and older participants to discriminate curvature (the thresholds were 0.58 & 0.59/m for the younger and older participants, respectively). The results of the current study demonstrate that while older adults can accurately discriminate surface curvature from dynamic touch, they possess significant impairments for static touch. © 2013 Norman et al.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere68577
    Number of pages6
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Volume8
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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