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anatomical distribution of a nerve-fibre) must have definite unchangeable limits, which experiment shows that they do not possess. Suppose the small areas in Fig. 25 to each represent a peripheral area of nerve-distribution. If any two points in c were touched we should according to the theory get but a single sensation; but if, while the compass-points remained the same distance apart, or were even approximated, one were placed in c and the other on a contiguous area, two fibres would be stimulated and we ought to get two sensations; but such is not the case; on the same skin-region the points must be always the same distance apart, no matter how they be shifted, in order to give rise to two just distinguishable sensations.
"It is probable that the nerve-areas are much smaller than the tactile; and that several unstimulated must intervene between the excited, in order to produce sensations which shall be distinct. If we suppose twelve unexcited nerveareas must intervene, then, in Fig. 25, a and b will be just on the limits of a single tactile area; and no matter how the points are moved, so long as eleven, or fewer, unexcited areas come between, we would get a single tactile sensation; in this way we can explain the fact that tactile areas have no fixed boundaries in the skin, although the nerve-distribution in any part must be constant. We also see why the back of a knife laid on the surface causes a continuous linear sensation, although it touches many distinct nerveareas. If we could discriminate the excitations of each of these from that of its immediate neighbors we should get the sensation of a series of points touching us, one for each nerve-region excited; but in the absence of intervening unexcited nerve-areas the sensations are fused together.
The Temperature-sense. Its Terminal Organs.-"By this we mean our faculty of perceiving cold and warmth; and, with the help of these sensations, of perceiving temperature differences in external objects. Its organ is the whole skin, the mucuos membrane of mouth and fauces, pharynx
and gullet, and the entry of the nares. Direct heating or cooling of a sensory nerve may stimulate it and cause pain, but not a true temperature-sensation; hence we assume the presence of temperature end-organs. [These have not yet been ascertained anatomically. Physiologically, however, the demonstration of special spots in the skin for feeling heat and cold is one of the most interesting discoveries of recent years. If one draw a pencil-point over the palm or cheek one will notice certain spots of sudden coolness. These are the cold-spots; the heat-spots are less easy to single out. Goldscheider, Blix, and Donaldson have made minute exploration of determinate tracts of skin and found the heat- and cold-spots thickset and permanently distinct.
shows the cold-spots, that marked
skin on one of Goldscheider's fin
FIG. 26. The figure marked CP Between them no temperatureHP the heat-spots, and the middle sensation is excited by contact one the hairs on a certain patch of with a pointed cold or hot object. Mechanical and faradic irritation also excites in these points their specific feelings respectively.]
The feeling of temperature is relative to the state of the skin. "In a comfortable room we feel at no part of the body either heat or cold, although different parts of its surface are at different temperatures; the fingers and nose being cooler than the trunk which is covered by clothes, and this, in turn, cooler than the interior of the mouth. The temperature which a given region of the temperatureorgan has (as measured by a thermometer) when it feels neither heat nor cold, is its temperature-sensation zero, and is not associated with any one objective temperature; for not only, as we have just seen, does it vary in different parts of the organ, but also on the same part from time to time. Whenever a skin-region has a temperature above its sensation-zero we feel warmth; and vice versa: the sensation is more marked the greater the difference, and the more suddenly it is produced; touching a metallic body, which
conducts heat rapidly to or from the skin, causes a more marked hot or cold sensation than touching a worse conductor, as a piece of wood, of the same temperature.
"The change of temperature in the organ may be brought about by changes in the circulatory apparatus (more blood flowing through the skin warms it and less leads to its cooling), or by temperature-changes in gases, liquids, or solids in contact with it. Sometimes we fail to distinguish clearly whether the cause is external or internal; a person coming in from a windy walk often feels a room uncomfortably warm which is not really so; the exercise has accelerated his circulation and tended to warm his skin, but the moving outer air has rapidly conducted off the extra heat; on entering the house the stationary air there does this less quickly, the skin gets hot, and the cause is supposed to be oppressive heat of the room. Hence, frequently, opening windows and sitting in a draught, with its concomitant risks; whereas keeping quiet for five or ten minutes, until the circulation has returned to its normal rate, would attain the same end without danger.
"The acuteness of the temperature-sense is greatest at temperatures within a few degrees of 30° C. (86° F.); at these differences of less than 0.1° C. can be discriminated. As a means of measuring absolute temperatures, however, the skin is very unreliable, on account of the changeability of its sensation-zero. We can localize temperature-sensations much as tactile, but not so accurately."
Muscular Sensation.-The sensation in the muscle itself cannot well be distinguished from that in the tendon or in its insertion. In muscular fatigue the insertions are the places most painfully felt. In muscular rheumatism, however, the whole muscle grows painful; and violent contraction such as that caused by the faradic current, or known as cramp, produces a severe and peculiar pain felt in
*Martin: op. cit., with omissions.
the whole mass of muscle affected. Sachs also thought that he had demonstrated, both experimentally and anatomically, the existence of special sensory nerve-fibres, distinct from the motor fibres, in the frog's muscle. The latter end in the terminal plates,' the former in a network. Great importance has been attached to the muscular sense as a factor in our perceptions, not only of weight and pressure, but of the space-relations between things generally. Our eyes and our hands, in their explorations of space, move over it and through it. It is usually supposed that without this sense of an intervening motion performed we should not perceive two seen points or two touched points to be separated by an extended interval. I am far from denying the immense participation of experiences of motion in the construction of our space-perceptions. But it is still an open question how our muscles help us in these experiences, whether by their own sensations, or by awakening sensations of motion on our skin, retina, and articular surfaces. The latter seems to me the more probable view, and the reader may be of the same opinion after reading Chapter VI.
Sensibility to Weight.-When we wish to estimate accurately the weight of an object we always, when possible, lift it, and so combine muscular and articular with tactile sensations. By this means we can form much better judgments.
Weber found that whereas
must be added to a weight resting on the hand for the increase to be felt, the same hand actively 'hefting' the weight could feel an addition of as little as Merkel's recent and very careful experiments, in which the finger pressed down the beam of a balance counterweighted by from 25 to 8020 grams, showed that between 200 and 2000 grams a constant fractional increase of about was felt when there was no movement of the finger, and of about when there was movement. Above and below these limits the discriminative power grew less.
Pain. The physiology of pain is still an enigma. One might suppose separate afferent fibres with their own endorgans to carry painful impressions to a specific pain-centre. Or one might suppose such a specific centre to be reached by currents of overflow from the other sensory centres when the violence of their inner excitement should have reached a certain pitch. Or again one might suppose a certain extreme degree of inner excitement to produce the feeling of pain in all the centres. It is certain that sensations of every order, which in moderate degrees are rather pleasant than otherwise, become painful when their intensity grows strong. The rate at which the agreeableness and disagreeableness vary with the intensity of a sensation is roughly represented by the dotted curve in Fig. 27. The
FIG. 27 (after Wundt).
horizontal line represents the threshold both of sensational and of agreeable sensibility. Below the line is the disagreeble. The continuous curve is that of Weber's law which we learned to know in Fig. 2, p. 18. With the minimal sensation the agreeableness is nil, as the dotted curve shows. It rises at first more slowly than the sensational intensity, then faster; and reaches its maximum before the sensation is near its acme. After its maximum of agreeableness the