The Psychology of Touch

By Morton A. Heller; William Schiff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
HAPTIC PERCEPTION IN BLIND PEOPLE

Morton A. Heller Winston-Salem State University

Many researchers have been interested in tactile perception in blind people, because it is there that we are able to study the sense of touch without the intervention of visual experience or visual imagery. Some blind persons have never seen. These individuals must base their understanding of space on the senses of touch, proprioception, audition, and perhaps, olfaction. Do blind persons imagine objects as we do? Do they understand space in the same ways that the rest of us do? Do blind persons have images? These questions and many more will be addressed in this chapter.

Some of the research in this area has been influenced by the introspection of the sighted when deprived of vision. For example, imagine you are visiting a friend's house, and in rather unfamiliar surroundings. It is the middle of the night, there is no electrical power, and you need to get out of bed and go to another room in total darkness. Many of us have had a difficult time under these circumstances; a number of us may have walked repeatedly into obstacles. Some sighted persons may panic when suddenly denied visual support. It would be easy to assume erroneously that this accurately reflects the situation of the blind individual, but there are many differences between these circumstances and the perceptual and spatial tasks facing blind persons. Furthermore, problems in large-scale space may differ in some ways from tactile perception involving smaller configurations. It is a mistake to try to generalize from the introspection of the sighted to the psychological reality of blindness. Sighted persons have developed a reliance on vision. In addition, they have failed to learn some types of spatial skill based on tac

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The Psychology of Touch
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • References x
  • References xi
  • Chapter 1 Introduction 1
  • Part I Sensory Phenomena 21
  • References 22
  • Chapter 2 Sensory and Physiological Bases of Touch 23
  • References 55
  • Chapter 3 Thermal Sensibility 61
  • References 87
  • Chapter 14 Pain Responsiveness 91
  • References 111
  • References 112
  • Part II Development and Intermodal Relations 115
  • References 117
  • Chapter 5 Intermodality Relations: Vision and Touch 119
  • References 135
  • Chapter 6 the Development of Haptic Perception During Infancy 139
  • Part III Tactile Pattern Perception 163
  • References 166
  • Chapter 7 Haptic Perception of Form: Activity and Stimulus Attributes 169
  • Chapter 8 Vibrotactile Pattern Perception: Some Findings and Applications 189
  • References 213
  • Chapter 9 Braille 219
  • References 235
  • References 238
  • Chapter 10 Haptic Perception in Blind People 239
  • Chapter 11 Tactile Pictures 263
  • References 296
  • Chapter 12 a Reversed Lag in the Recognition and Production of Tactual Drawings: Theoretical Implications for Haptic Coding 301
  • References 323
  • Chapter 13 Conclusions: the Future of Touch 327
  • References 336
  • Author Index 339
  • Subject Index 349
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