The World of Touch
By David Katz
Edited by Lester E. Krueger, Lester E. Krueger
Psychology Press – 1989 – 272 pages
For the first time, David Katz's classic monograph The World of Touch has been translated into English. Regarded as one of the premiere experimental psychologists, Katz vigorously opposed the atomism and "tachistoscopic" mentality typical of the sensory psychology of his day.
In The World of Touch, Katz sought to dispel the invidious distinction between the supposedly higher (e.g., vision, audition) and lower (e.g., touch) senses. To help touch regain its original prominence in the field, Katz demonstrated, through very simple, yet creative experiments, how fascinating the abilities of touch are, and how valuable the tactual stimulus can be in specifying objects, surfaces, substances, and events. In addition, Katz emphasized the importance of higher-order invariants in the perception of objects, and the holistic quality of perception in time as well as space.
"Although it has been a long time in coming, the wait has certainly proved worthwhile. Krueger has provided an excellent translation of Katz's prose, as well as a valuable update of this earlier material in the light of subsequent work in the field….This is a useful evocative book with rich data and ideas on topics of universal interest which are usually glossed over with an opaque covering of metaphysics. Evidently science can illuminate art."
"The appearance of this magnificent translation and commentary… provides many with the opportunity to share Katz's insightful review and analysis of myriad touch-related issues."
"The English-speaking world is indebted to Lester Krueger for this…Krueger has outdone himself in providing a translation that has Katz speaking to us directly. In addition, he does an admirable job of relating this historic work with current research and understanding….The main value of the book is its wealth of rich observations that remind us what touch is all about. Thus, anyone with an interest in developing some acquaintance with the sense of touch will benefit immensely from this book. Likewise, any researcher looking for a fresh view and new directions in research will find a gold mine of possibilities."
—American Journal of Psychology
Contents: Translator's Preface. Editor's Introduction. Author's Preface. Part I: Modes of Appearance of the World of Touch. Introduction. Critical and Methodological Preamble. Types of Tactual Phenomena. Movement as a Formative Factor in Tactual Phenomena. Part II: Quantitative Studies of the Tactual Performance. Studies on Surface Touch. Studies on Touch Transparency. Analysis of Touch Movements. The Role of the Temperature Sensation in Touch. Part III: Further Analysis of the Tactual Performance. The Role of the Vibration Sense in Touch. The Contribution of Visual and Kinesthetic Processes to the Structure of Tactual Forms. Part IV: Applications.