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Psychology in Action

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studies are looking at stimulation of both the tactile and kinesthetic aspects, assuming that the universal aspect of rocking a child to pacify him/her must have some physiologically beneficial effect. Special waterbeds are now being used to provide kinesthetic stimulation to infants. Montagu, in trying to relate touch to mental disorder, does not make the mistake of assuming that all mental disorders can be linked to the “touching” practices within the family. However, he does indicate in some disorders (mainly autism) a more effective treatment may be to force the child into touching. Montagu cites the book Touching is Healing , by Older, which documents therapeutic successes with the use of touching. This is a provocative idea since two primary symptoms of childhood autism are the failure to enjoy cuddling and to draw away from human touch. Although the practice of medicine is becoming more scientific, many lament the loss of the close contact with a physician and the trend towards impersonal contact. It is no wonder that throughout history, medicine has been referred to as “the laying on of the hands.” Reference: Montagu, A. (1986). Touching: The human significance of the skin (3 rd ed.). New York: Harper & Row. Instructor’s Resource Guide                              Chapter 4                                            Page   120                                                                            
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2. - Aging and Perception Even though some general psychology textbooks discuss developmental factors in perception (mainly the development of depth perception in infants) they usually omit any reference to the changes that take place with aging. Yet this is an important factor in the coping ability of older persons. It is an established fact that the absolute threshold for all of the senses increases with aging. This means that a higher level of stimulation is needed. For example, older people like more salt on their food so it will taste “like it used to.” They ask others to speak up and quit mumbling. They insist that their children need more light in order to read. Since sensation is the basis for perceptual activity, it follows that alterations in perception would naturally occur. Older people have more trouble picking out embedded figures or separating figure from ground (Welford, 1980). What this means in terms of every day adjustment is that they will have more trouble finding their keys or any other missing object. This impaired ability involves more than short term memory loss or inability to recall where an object was placed. Older persons can be looking directly at the object they are seeking and not see it. When driving, they are more likely to overlook important information on a roadside, especially in a high speed environment. Another sensory change that relates to these difficulties is reduced visual acuity when events are out of central focus. Thus, the older
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