Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Dr. Steven Barlow

Second Advisor

Dr. Judith Harvey

Third Advisor

Dr. Yingying Wang

Date of this Version

Spring 4-20-2020


Hoffman, E. C. (2020). Vibrotactile Threshold Estimation in Neurotypical Children (Master's thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, United States).


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, Under the Supervision of Professor Steven M. Barlow. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2020

Copyright 2020 Elizabeth C. Hoffman


Experimental findings are limited concerning the vibrotactile sensitivity of the glabrous hand and perioral face in neurotypical children. Additional research examining vibrotactile detection thresholds (VDT) in neurotypical children would further understanding of tactile perception in children and help create a more robust understanding of somatosensory development across the lifespan. This research has applications in diagnostics for neurological disorders affecting vibrotactile sensation in the hands and face. The proposed study will use an adaptive single interval up-down threshold tracking algorithm to measure VDTs at 5, 10, 50, 150, 250, and 300 Hz for the glabrous hand and perioral face in a cohort of preadolescent children. This study found main effects related to frequency, skin site, age group, and sex. Across age group and sex, the left and right oral angles consistently demonstrated higher vibrotactile detection thresholds than the left and right index fingers. With increases in frequency, differences in mean VDT between the fingers and oral angles decreased. Differences in mean VDT between children and adults were most pronounced at frequencies of 50 Hz and below. Similarly, at 50 Hz and below, the greatest differences in VDT variability between the sexes were observed. This study had illustrated the importance of VIBROS for estimating vibrotactile detection thresholds in neurotypical children and adults.

Advisor: Steven M. Barlow