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Name: mimi
Status: student
Grade: 12+
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: United Kingdom
Date: Winter 2012-2913


Question:
Which part of the human body is most accurate in testing the temperature of babys bath water and why?



Replies:
On the specific question of bathwater and appropriate testing of its temperature, I can only refer you to an expert in childcare. Certainly a thermometer would be far more accurate than any human. However, on the broader question of temperature sensation: hot and cold temperatures are sensed by nerve endings called thermoreceptors. The specific mechanism by which these work is not fully understood, but scientists have studied the density of hot and cold thermoreceptors throughout the body. The highest concentration of these nerve endings is on the lips; other high concentrations are on the face and fingertips. These ares of the body are likely to be most sensitive to changes in temperature, and thus would likely be best used for 'testing' the temperature of an object.

S. Unterman Ph.D.


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