Talk:Development of touch

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    We thank the reviewers for their interesting and helpful comments. We have made the modifications directly in the text of the article. We provide in this section specific responses to reviewer A comments.

    Reviewer A:

    Overall, this overview of the development of touch is helpful. A few comments:

    1. Role of Ruffini receptors has been put into question by Michel Pare and colleagues. Indeed, there appears to be very few such receptors in the glabrous skin of the human hand.

    A sentence has been added to explain this. “However, the role of Ruffini receptors has been put into question due to the few number of such receptors in the glabrous skin of the human hand.”

    2. A.K. Goble should be mentioned in the list of people who have done research on the effect of aging on perception. The section on “simple stimuli” (under the heading “measuring the sense of touch throughout life’) would benefit from expanding a bit on the work done by the Syracuse group (Verrillo, Gescheider) and others mentioned. What was measured? How did it change with age?

    Done. “The decline of the vibrotactile sensitivity has been observed by studying detection thresholds of vibrotactile signals (Gescheider et et al. 1994 I and II), as well as by measuring absolute difference limens (Gescheider et al., 1996). The investigation of the subjective intensity of vibration provided also higher thresholds in older subjects (Verrillo et al., 2002). Touch detection measured with Semmes-Weinstein aesthesiomether filaments also showed increased thresholds with age (Thornbuty and Mistretta 1981; Bruce 1980).”

    3. Under the subheading “orientation and spatial acuity:” One has to be careful not to equate grating orientation discrimination with orientation perception. The orientation task is trivial in the GO discrimination as long as the spatial properties of the stimulus are perceived. The task therefore does not probe sensitivity to orientation but rather sensitivity to fine spatial structure.

    We agree with the reviewer. Therefore the first sentence (on line orientation) has been removed.

    4. How old were the children in Gellis and Pool’s study?

    This has been added to the article.

    Reviewer B:

    I have made only minor corrections in the text to improve the progression of ideas. I suggest adding the following references with regard to reduction in mecanoreceptors with age. Verillo's papers might also be cited in the text for they corroborate the age-related lost affecting the PC channel.

    1. Cauna, N. (1965) The effects of aging on the receptors organs of the human dermis. In Advances in Biology of Skin (Montagna, W., ed), 63-96, Pergamon Press 2. Bolton, C.F., et al. (1964) A quantitative study of Meissner's corpuscles in man. Trans Am Neurol Assoc 89, 190-192 1. Verrillo, R.T. (1979) Change in vibrotactile thresholds as a function of age. Sens Processes 3, 49-59 2. Verrillo, R.T. (1982) Effects of aging on the suprathreshold responses to vibration. Percept Psychophys 32, 61-68

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