cludes interest in pattern identification, object recognition, sensory physiology, intermodal relations, and developmental issues.
Sensory phenomena can be studied from many points of view, as illustrated in the first part of this volume. The authors of these chapters discuss various psychophysical techniques used to investigate the acuity of our senses, the magnitude of our sensations, and the nature of the tactile qualities we experience. Alternative methods of studying sensory phenomena, addressed in this first part, also include introspection and physiology.
Cholewiak and Collins discuss the sensory and physiological bases of touch: A traditional research concern that has involved attempts to link specific receptor organs in the skin with classes of sensation. The next two chapters, by Stevens and by Rollman, cover thermal sensibility and pain. These areas both involve substantial affective components. Stevens discusses thermal sensibility, and Rollman provides an interesting account of the problems involved in the measurement of pain, as well as covering the major theories of pain sensibility.
The second part is concerned with intermodal relations and the development of touch. Warren and Rossano provide an overview of work on intermodal relations and the influence of vision on touch. In their chapter, Bushnell and Boudreau have focused their attention on intermodal relations in infancy and early childhood.
Tactile pattern perception is covered in the third part of this book. Appelle addresses the influence of motor activity on form perception and the attributes of form. His account is guided by the idea that the nature of our hand movements determines what we perceive. Sherrick provides a perceptive account of the current research in vibrotactile stimulation, an area that has proven extremely useful for communication via the skin. In addition, he describes the application of vibrotactile stimulators to solve problems posed by visual and/or hearing impairment. Finally, Foulke's chapter presents an overview of research on reading braille.
The final part of this book deals with tactile perception in blind people; an area that has fascinated philosophers for hundreds of years. Although some of the research on tactile perception in blind people has been concerned with the solution of applied problems, the chapters in this part are primarily devoted to the empirical evidence on theoretical issues in haptics. Heller provides a general discussion of tactile perception in blind individuals. Kennedy, Gabias, and Nicholls describe the drawing of pictures by blind people. Millar reconciles the drawing ability of blind children with an apparent difficulty in their interpretation of raised line drawings.
The editors wish to acknowledge the contributions of a number of people to this book. First, we are grateful for the guidance provided by our editor at Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Judi Amsel, and our production editor,