Velvet Wire Net
Most people sense that they are stroking velvet, something for which there is no known explanation. It seems the answer lies in the fact that our sense of touch analyzes the rate of change in what we feel with our hands in order to interpret the type of texture before us.
Beneath our skin, we have several types of tactile receptors. They are the ends of nerve cells that specialize in different types of touch: some respond better to firm pressure, other to gentle stroking, etc. Our ability to identify objects by touch alone is based on the brain's ability to compare the pattern of messages that each type of sensor transmits with the information stored in our memory. When we pass our fingers over the screen, information matching contact with a wire screen and information matching contact between the two hands themselves get jumbled together and confuse our brain. As a result, we sense a third object - not a wire screen and not a hand. This display demonstrates the great importance of a synchronized nerve code. When arriving information "confuses" time, the result is confused perception. In some ways, this illusion reminds us of the Colours that aren't there! Illusion, in which alternating black and white patterns create the perception of color.
Try-at-home activities for demonstrating other tactile illusions:
Colours that aren't there!