This book reviews the considerable body of research that has been done to evaluate the touch skills of blind people. With an emphasis on cognitive and neuroscientific approaches, it encompasses a wide-ranging discussion of the theoretical issues in the field of touch perception and blindness.
The volume includes chapters on sensory aspects of touch, perception in blind individuals, multimodal relations and their implications for instruction and development, and new technology, including sensory aids and virtual touch. A distinctive feature of the book is the inclusion of the practical applications of research in this area.
A significant characteristic of research on touch and imagery in congenitally blind individuals is that it speaks to the basic nature of spatial imagery and the importance and necessity -- or lack thereof -- of specific visual sensory experience for the acquisition of knowledge about space, spatial layout, and picture perception. As such, the book will not only appeal to researchers and professionals with an interest in touch and blindness, but also to a wider audience of cognitive psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists working in the field of perception.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Historical and Philosophical Background. 2. Cognitive Neuroscience of Touch. 3 The Haptic Perception of Objects and their Properties. 4. Illusions. 5. Intermodal Relations. 6. Development of Haptic Perception over the Life-Span. 7. Blindness: General Introduction Pattern Perception, Imagery, Spatial Orientation, and Mobility. 8. Picture Perception and Blind People. 9. Braille and New Technology. 10. Haptics in Learning Reading, Handwriting and Mathematics. 11. Tactile Interfaces and Applications. 12. General Conclusions: Implications of Current Research for Theory and Applications.
Morton A. Heller is Professor Emeritus and the former chair of the Psychology Department at Eastern Illinois University. He has edited four books on touch and blindness. Dr. Heller has served on the Editorial Board of Perception, and is an action editor for the journal. He has interests in spatial perception and drawing in blind and sighted people, the relationship between the senses of vision and touch, spatial memory, and illusions in touch and vision.
Edouard Gentaz is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the University of Geneva and Director of Research at the CNRS Laboratory of Psychology and Neurocognition at Grenoble. His research, which has theoretical and applied dimensions, focuses in particular on the development of sensori-motor and cognitive abilities in typical populations and in blind people. He is the author or co-author of more than 80 articles in refereed journals and several books.
"Written in a clear and to-the-point style, this book brings together the literature on touch, haptics, and blindness. The book will prove to be valuable to people interested in learning about these topics and to people who are interested in the connections among these topics." --James C. Craig, Ph.D., Indiana University
"The complexities of touch and blindness are tackled with rigor in this valuable book, including the historical and philosophical roots of touch, its neural bases and other neuroscience issues, the relations between touch and other perceptual modalities, and the development of haptic perception from childhood to the old age. There is not doubt that the book will attract the interest of a broad readership." -- Soledad Ballesteros, Ph.D., Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain
"This unique book authoritatively integrates what is known about the psychology of both touch and blindness. Heller and Gentaz, leading experts in the field, present a logical progression of key research papers on each of a series of topics, such as perceptual illusions and tactile interfaces. Despite its scope and rigor, the book is written in an accessible, engaging style that will make readers feel as if they are having an extended conversation with two very knowledgeable friends." --Mark Hollins, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill