|MadSci Network: Neuroscience|
Your brain is in charge of determining what something is by touch. The brain receives input from mechanoreceptors in the skin, but that is the extent of the skin's involvement. Of course, you really can't tell what anything is based on a first touch (or stimulation of any other sensory system). We use multiple sensory modalities to classify an object. We then store information about the nature of the sensations relative to our "identification" or classification of an object in the cerebral cortex. There is an area in the cerebrum called the somatosensory association area where comparison of current sensations with previously experienced sensations occurs. If the sensory pattern created by a current object matches that of a previously experienced object, we interpret the object as being the same as the object we stored in memory.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Neuroscience.