The Paradigm Of Touch Research Paper

Length: 6 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Parenting Type: Research Paper Paper: #34880730 Related Topics: Sensory Perception, Beloved, Consumer Perception, Physiology
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Perception of Touch

The author of this report shall be offering a literature review on a particular subject. The subject in question is the perception and sensation of touch. While this subject may seem very basic and simple to a lot of people, it is actually quite intense, complex and full of details that science is really just starting to uncover and learn. Whether it be the "feeling" of the world around us, the interaction between people that are lovers or the bond between mother and child, touch is a very significant part of life and it would be less than wise to dismiss it as unimportant or simple on its face. While only so much is known about touch and the sensations involved, are many things that are known or that are starting to be known.


One of the examples of touch that takes on more importance than other manifestations would be the interaction and bond between mother and child. As explained by some clinical research, it is imperative for a human newborn to have contact with their mother early, often and with great intensity. As stated by one study, "being able to recognize (and be recognized by) his/her own mother, locate the breast, latch on and feed are clearly evolutionarily important survival abilities. It should be noted that all of the sensory systems that adults have are present in newborn children. However, there are some specific abilities that are less advanced than they typically are with adults and thus some development is required. Infants need the connection to their mother because it is has been discerned that infants use this to self-regulate their overall behavior and physiology. However, to suggest that this cycle of interaction and touching begins at birth is far from the truth. It actually begins in utero when the child is still yet to be born. For example, early sensory exposure during fetal life begins with contact with odors and the taste of the amniotic fluid present around the baby. The overall chemosensory apparatus involves actually develops fairly early in the pregnancy. After birth, there is a very large focus on "skin to skin" contact between the mother and the child. Barriers to this such as aprons, clothing and so forth are to be avoided, for obvious reasons. Some other takeaways that can be realized and learned and that have come from this line of research include the fact that there are deemed to be five senses but there are probably more, newborn infants are equipped with the ability to be aware of their external physical and social environment, the senses of touch and olfaction are fundamentally important when it comes to infant development and having an understanding of the entire human sensory array and how it relates to infant/mother communication can be a great aid when it comes to early child development (Hugill, 2015).

Family touch interaction is certainly not limited to infant and mother. Indeed, there have been studies on the effects (or lack thereof) of interpersonal touch during childhood when it comes to adult attachment and depression. This is an area of psychology and touch that is apparently not covered a lot but it obviously should be given the implications. As was noted by the section about infants, touch plays a huge part in development. Things like hugs and kisses do make a different over the long-term provided that there is not a crossing of boundaries or excessive coddling of children. When it comes to the post-infant years, the most important years are from when one is a toddler to when one is about to enter high school. The high school period starts the transition into adulthood and touch norms do change at that point. However, the years that lead up to that are extremely important. Lack of hugs, affection and positive touches can lead to feelings of not being loved, anger and neglect. Children need to feel they are loved and it is outstanding for everyone involved if both the mother and the father are involved in the


Just as one example of what can go wrong if not enough touch is present, there is a strong correlation between depression and lack of positive touch as a child. There are also findings about people having problems with romance and intimacy once they reach adulthood if their parents were not touching them in proper affectionate ways as a child (Takeuchi, Miyaoka, Tomoda, Suzuki, Liu & Kitamura, 2010).

Another example where touch and sensation take on higher and deeper levels of importance include when someone is blind. Indeed, one of the main ways that a blind person perceives the outside world is through braille. Whether it be books, signs or what have you, there is a need to improve touch sensation when seeing things is literally not an option due to blindness or blurry vision in general. Many people are aware of the narrative that blind people develop much better senses of hearing and touch due to the absence of their eyesight. While some may dismiss this as an urban legend, it is actually completely true. One example of this is when a blind person uses their left index finger to read Braille. They typically "exhibit an enlarged cortical representation of this reading finger in the somatosensory area" ("Differences in two-point," 2015). It should be important to lay down some benchmarks and rules when it comes to what it means to be blind. First, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines people that are blind as those that have a maximum vision of 0.05 and a "low vision" by maximum vision level of about 0.1. Low vision people can sometimes read using magnifying glasses and the like but many others are entirely reliant on their other senses, usually hearing and touch. Further, the perception and feeling of touch can actually be measured. A measurement tool that is used to do precisely that is known as two-point discrimination. One of its main uses is to measure the continuity and health of nerves after perceived or verified damage has occurred to them. There is also a tool known as a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) that can be used to measure the health and efficacy of nerve endings in a human being. As would be predictable based on the other facts in this section, those that read text have been found to have less touch sensitivity than those that read Braille. Indeed, the blind would be more used to reading Braille, would have to use their touch and hearing senses more due to not having sight and thus would perform better on average than someone who is able to read text with their eyes ("Differences in two-point," 2015).

While blindness may be the obvious thing to look at when it comes to touch being all the more important, there are other disorders and health maladies that make touch a very important factor. For example, those that have strokes often experience loss of feeling and use of the limbs on one side of their body. Part of the recovery and measuring the body performance of those patients is to measure the relationships between touch sensation on the affected side of the body and the overall performance of activities that are valued to the person affected by the stroke. Those that experience chronic stroke conditions are even more affected. When it comes to chronic stroke patients in particular and the performance of tasks they love and treasure, there is a strong correlation between higher touch sensation and those tasks that are beloved and preferred. These findings would obviously point to what should be focused on when it comes to post-stroke healthcare interventions like rehabilitation and so forth (Hill, Fisher, Schmid, Crabtree & Page, 2014).

Another obvious factor that has an effect, usually bad, on touch perception and sensation would be aging. Studies have been done to prove that there are marked differences between age groups when it comes to touch and sensation. Indeed, the senses are present yet developing through early childhood and then they peak. As one reaches middle age, they start to taper off. When the tapering occurs and to what degree obviously depends on the patient and their overall state of health as they age. Even so, there is clearly a climb to an apex of development and then a slow degradation over time as the person ages. Much the same thing can be said of hearing and vision as well and for much the same reasons. However, just like the prior mentioned infants are connected to their mother when it comes to touch, the internal mechanism of touch and sensation is provably and inextricably linked to the psychological traits of a give patient. Indeed, sensory processing is strongly correlated with cognitive processing and this is especially true when it comes to the young and middle-aged people of the world. Even so, the above statement about aging people holds true because "middle-aged adults…

Sources Used in Documents:


Differences in two-point discrimination and sensory threshold in the blind between braille and text reading: a pilot study. (2015). Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(6), 1919-

1922 4p.

Hill, V. A., Fisher, T., Schmid, A. A., Crabtree, J., & Page, S. J. (2014). Relationship between touch sensation of the affected hand and performance of valued activities in individuals with chronic stroke. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 21(4), 339-346.


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