German pioneers of research into human haptic perception

  • Martin Grunwald
  • Matthias John


The science of the human sense of touch, also known as ‘haptic,” had a long and rich tradition in Germany before World War II. Philosophers and physiologists, medical doctors and psychologists approached the subject of touch from different points of view and each of them developed an unmistakable, and sometimes enduring, part of the knowledge we have today. Among these scientists are some whose works about research into the sense of touch were internationally known and influential while others, though, were only received in the German speaking world. Regardless of this criteria, several of the most important representatives of German touch research before World War II and their scientific contributions are outlined below. The accounts are ordered chronologically according to the respective year of birth (E.H. Weber, M. von Frey, M. Dessoir, G. Révész, D. Katz, and E. von Skramlik).


Visual Perception Test Person Spatial Perception Historical Aspect Haptic Perception 
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Selected readings

  1. Weber EH (1978) The Sense of Touch. London; New York: Academic Press for Experimental Psychology Society, 1978Google Scholar
  2. Révész G (1958) The Human Hand; a Psychological Study. London: Routledge & PaulGoogle Scholar
  3. Katz D (1989) The World of Touch. Edited and translated by Lester E. Krueger. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates IncGoogle Scholar
  4. Ribot T (1886) German Psychology Today: The empirical school. (2nd ed.). [J.M. Baldwin, Trans.). New York: ScribnersGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Grunwald
    • 1
  • Matthias John
    • 2
  1. 1.Paul Flechsig Institute for Brain Research, Haptic and EEG-Research LaboratoryUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Haptic Research LaboratoryUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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