British pioneers of research into human haptic perception

  • Jonathan Cole


The history of early research on haptics in the United Kingdom is, to a large extent, the history of several great men, reflecting in part the relative small numbers engaged in research. There was a golden age for British neurology and neurophysiology at the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries, before and during the First World War. After this the focus moved to a smaller scale with the work of Adrian and Matthews; for instance, being largely on the mechanism of the nervous impulse and on biophysics rather than on the functioning of larger systems. Such were the successes of such an approach, with the accruing of Nobel Prizes for Adrian and Sherrington, Huxley and Hodgkin, and Katz, that whole system approaches only became in vogue once more within the UK in the latter decades of the last century.


Position Sense Tuning Fork Body Schema Historical Aspect Sensory Afferents 
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Selected readings

  1. Adrian ED (1928) The Basis of Sensation (reprinted: New York and London: Hafner, 1964)Google Scholar
  2. Bell C (1833) The Hand; Its mechanism and vital endowments as evincing design. London: William Pickering (reprinted by Pilgrims’ Press, Brentwood, England, 1979)Google Scholar
  3. Head H (1920) Studies in Neurology, Volumes 1 and 2. Oxford; OUP and London: Hodder and StoughtonGoogle Scholar
  4. Rivers WH, Head Sir H (1908) A human experiment in nerve division. Brain 31: 323–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Sherrington Sir C (1906) Integrative action of the Nervous System. Yale: Scribner (reprinted 1947, Cambridge, CUP)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Cole
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical NeurophysiologyPoole HospitalPooleUK

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