Psychology in Action

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5. The early dot matrix computer printers had only a few dots per letter with lots of space in between. Reading their print output was especially difficult if the print head was misfiring. Imagine that you are seeing such a page for the first time. You find yourself having a very hard time reading the words. But, after some practice you are able to read almost as fast as if the characters were fully formed. What is your brain doing that allows you to read so fast? Are you aware of this process? Could it be said that you are reading information that is not actually there? Instructor’s Resource Guide                              Chapter 4                                            Page   118                                                                            
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L ecture E xtenders 1 - The Tactile Sense The sense of touch is often looked upon as an “inferior” sense while hearing and vision are accorded more prominent roles in development. Actually, touch is indispensable: it is crucial in orienting a person to the environment and plays a special role in attachment to others. Ashley Montagu, in a third edition of his book Touching , has “touched” upon all aspects of the tactile sense, even extending the data to speculate upon the relationship between tactile deprivation and some forms of mental disorder. The material below is taken from his book. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The importance of touch was celebrated by writers long before psychologists were investigating this neglected sense modality. The literature abounds with examples of metaphors that attest to its importance: “rubbing people the wrong way,” “abrasive personality,” “the magic touch,” “soft touch,” “thick-skinned,” “tactful,” and “touchstone” are a few of the common phrases one sees. One industry that has capitalized on the tactile need has been AT&T which promotes long distance phone calls through the ad, “Reach out and touch someone.” Anatomically, what do psychologists know about the tactile sense and its development? Touch is the “mother” of all senses. It is the largest sense modality and the first to become functional in the developing embryo. When the embryo is less than one inch long and not yet six weeks of age, touching the upper lip elicits body movement away from the stimulation. By nine weeks, the fingers will close if the palm is touched. At twelve weeks, the mouth opens and the tongue moves about if the base of the thumb is touched. The average adult has enough skin to cover the floor area of a “good-sized” room, approximately 19 square feet. Every four hours, the skin produces the equivalent of two new layers of skin. The skin varies in thickness; the thinnest layers are found on the eyelids, the thickest on the sole of the feet and the palm of the hand.
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