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Table of contents
PREFACE
TOUCH-1
TOUCH-2
TOUCH-3 (begin)
TOUCH-3 (end)
TOUCH-4 (begin)
TOUCH-4 (end)
SMELL-1
SMELL-2
SMELL-3.1
SMELL-3.2
SMELL-3.3
SMELL-3.4
SMELL-3.5
SMELL-4 (begin)
SMELL-4 (end)
SMELL-5
HEARING-1
HEARING-2
HEARING-3
VISION-1.1
VISION-1.2
VISION-1.3
VISION-2.1
VISION-2.2
VISION-2.3
VISION-2.4
VISION-3
VISION-4
VISION-5
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B HISTORY-1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.2
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.3
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

 

Harriet Martineau, at the beginning of her _Autobiography_, 

referring to the vivid character of tactile sensations in early 

childhood, remarks, concerning an early memory of touching a 

velvet button, that "the rapture of the sensation was really 

monstrous." And a lady tells me that one of her earliest memories 

at the age of 3 is of the exquisite sensation of the casual 

contact of a cool stone with the vulva in the act of urinating. 

Such sensations, of course, cannot be termed specifically sexual, 

though they help to furnish the tactile basis on which the 

specifically sexual sensations develop. 

 

The elementary sensitiveness of the skin is shown by the fact 

that moderate excitation suffices to raise the temperature, while 

Heidenhain and others have shown that in animals cutaneous 

stimuli modify the sensibility of the brain cortex, slight 

stimulus increasing excitability and strong stimulus diminishing 

it. Fere has shown that the slight stimulus to the skin furnished 

by placing a piece of metal on the arm or elsewhere suffices to 

increase the output of work with the ergograph. (Fere, _Comptes 

Rendus Societe de Biologie_, July 12, 1902; id., _Pathologic des 

Emotions_, pp. 40 et seq.) 

 

Fere found that the application of a mustard plaster to the skin, 

or an icebag, or a hot-water bottle, or even a light touch with a 

painter's brush, all exerted a powerful effect in increasing 

muscular work with the ergograph. "The tonic effect of cutaneous 

excitation," he remarks, "throws light on the psychology of the 

caress. It is always the most sensitive parts of the body which 

seek to give or to receive caresses. Many animals rub or lick 

each other. The mucous surfaces share in this irritability of the 

skin. The kiss is not only an expression of feeling; it is a 

means of provoking it. Cataglottism is by no means confined to 

pigeons. The tonic value of cutaneous stimulation is indeed a 

commonly accepted idea. Wrestlers rub their hands or limbs, and 

the hand-shake also is not without its physiological basis. 

 

"Cutaneous excitations may cause painful sensations to cease. Many 

massage practices which favor work act chiefly as sensorial 

stimulants; on this account many nervous persons cannot abandon 

them, and the Greeks and Romans found in massage not only health, 

but pleasure. Lauder Brunton regards many common manoeuvres, like 

scratching the head and pulling the mustache, as methods of 

dilating the bloodvessels of the brain by stimulating the facial 

nerve. The motor reactions of cutaneous excitations favor this 

hypothesis." (Fere, _Travail et Plaisir_, Chapter XV, "Influence 

des Excitations du Toucher sur le Travail.") 

 

The main characteristics of the primitive sense of touch are its wide 

diffusion over the whole body and the massive vagueness and imprecision of 


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