Paper Clip Lab

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Paper Clip Lab

By: Daniel Del Carmen
Mrs. McCormic
IBH Biology 12
August 30, 2012

Background Information:
You should find on some parts of your body you can feel the separate points when they are only a few millimeters apart, while for other parts of the body you may need a centimeter or more between them. When we touch something, it changes the shape of our skin slightly. We have nerve cells in our skin that detect these changes in shape and send a message to our brains, letting us know we have touched something. For you to tell the difference between one or two points touching your skin, the points need to be far enough apart to stimulate separate sensors. The different distances you will have found for different parts of our bodies are because our touch sensors are not evenly spread out. In our fingertips, they are only millimeters or so apart, so you only needed a few millimeters between the tips of your paperclip to feel the two points. On our backs, the sensors are more spread out and you would need to separate the points by several centimeters to tell there were two of them. The tips of our tongues have the closest packed touch sensors, with up to 200 per square centimeter.

Question:
Are different parts of your body more sensitive than others? Hypothesis:
If two points of a 2cm wide paper clip are pressed on different parts of the body such as the tip of the index finger, the back of the neck, the palm of the hand, the bicep, and the knee, then I will be able to determine that different parts of the body are more sensitive than others by checking if one or two points of the paper clip were felt after being poked.

I can assume this because I know that there are nerve cells in our skin that send impulses to our brain letting us know if we have touched something. Different parts of our body contain more touch sensors than others because they are not evenly spread out and from this lab; I want to prove this point true. Variables:

Independent Variable:
- The different parts of the body.
Dependent Variable:
How many points of the paper clips the human subjects had felt. Controlled Variables:Why it must be controlled:How it was controlled: 1. Size of the paper clips. If the paperclips varied in size, people may have felt the bigger ones easier than the smaller ones, thus providing inaccurate results. The paperclips used were the same size. 2. Human subjects were the same age (16 years old)If human subjects significantly varied in age, the results would not be as accurate and precise as they should be. All human subjects tested in the experiment were 16 years old. 3. Amount of pressure being applied to each poke. If amount of pressure applied to a poke is different as compared to another poke, the results would not be as accurate and precise as they should be. The amount of pressure applied to each poke was the same throughout the experiment.

Means of Accomplishments:
1.Bend the paperclip into a U shape. The tips of the paper clip must be 2 cm apart. 2.Have the other person close their eyes and hold out their hand. 3.Hold the paperclip so the ends are almost together.

4.Touch the paperclip against the tip of the index finger.
5.Make sure both points touch at the same time.
6.Ask the person if it feels like you are touching them with one point or two. 7.Record Results
8.Repeat steps 4-7 but instead of the finger tip touch the paper clip against the palm of their hand, the back of the neck, their bicep, and their knee. 9.Repeat steps 1-8 on four other people of the same age.

Data:
Person 1
Parts of the body1 touch2 touch
Tip of the Index FingerX
Back of the NeckX
Knee
Palm of the handX
BicepX

Person 2
Parts of the body1 touch2 touch
Tip of the Index FingerX
Back of the NeckX
KneeX
Palm of the handX
BicepX
Person 3
Parts of the body1 touch2 touch
Tip of the Index FingerX
Back of the NeckX
KneeX
Palm of the...
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