Touch perception throughout working life: Effects of age and expertise

Reuter, Eva-Maria, Voelcker-Rehage, Claudia, Vieluf, Solveig and Godde, Ben (2012) Touch perception throughout working life: Effects of age and expertise. Experimental Brain Research, 216 2: 287-297. doi:10.1007/s00221-011-2931-5

Author Reuter, Eva-Maria
Voelcker-Rehage, Claudia
Vieluf, Solveig
Godde, Ben
Title Touch perception throughout working life: Effects of age and expertise
Journal name Experimental Brain Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0014-4819
Publication date 2012
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00221-011-2931-5
Open Access Status
Volume 216
Issue 2
Start page 287
End page 297
Total pages 11
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract Fine motor skills including precise tactile and haptic perception are essential to the manipulation of objects. With increasing age, one's perception decreases; however, little is known about the state of touch perception in middle-aged adults. This study investigated the extent to which the decline in touch perception affects adults throughout their working life. In addition, the influence of work-related expertise on tactile and haptic perception was examined in an attempt to determine whether expertise, in the form of the frequent use of the fingers, affects perception and counters age-related losses. The study was conducted with subjects from three age groups (18-25, 34-46, and 54-65 years) with two levels of expertise. Expertise was classified by the subjects' occupations. Five sensory tasks of touch perception were conducted. The results confirmed age-related changes in tactile perception over the span of one's working life. Older workers were proven to have lower tactile performance than younger adults. However, middle-aged workers were hardly affected by the perception losses and did not differ significantly from younger adults. Work-related expertise was not proven to either affect tactile and haptic perception or counteract age-related declines. We conclude that the age-related decline gets steeper in the late working life and that specific work-related expertise does not lead to generally improved touch perception that would result in lower thresholds and improved performance in non-expertise specific tasks.
Keyword Aging
Tactile perception
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Created: Thu, 04 Jun 2015, 14:38:26 EST by Sandrine Ducrot on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences