Saturday, February 11, 2012

Haptic anchoring: textural metaphors and "meant-to-for's"

It has been reported widely that researchers have discovered that the area of the brain mainly responsible for sensing texture (such as hard, soft, rough, smooth, slimy, gritty, etc.), the parietal operculum, also is strongly activated when metaphors of touch occur in speech. Up until now it has been assumed by many that the connection between metaphors and senses was, at best, very indirect. Apparently choice of metaphor does matter, much more than we thought!
            Note some of the terms or metaphors or similies--or literal descriptors--of the various kinds of touch enacted by one hand on the other in HICP haptic anchoring: tap, squeezing, scratching, digging in, hard push, brush lightly, sensation of a crab crawling over the back of your hand, like compressing a strong spring with both hands and then letting it go, gentle or soft touch between the eyebrows, digging in your fingernails into the palm of the other hand as you scrape across the hand, turbulent air rushing over the finger, vibration from the vocal cords making the fingers tingle, biting the sides of your tongue, pressing the hands together, etc.
          HICP, in some (felt) sense, works in a similar fashion. Textural (haptic) anchors are attached to words or phrases which then are (ideally) re-experienced when the word is used in practice or communication, setting the word in the assigned or repaired new pronunciation or structure. They are designed to (meant-to-for) signal the presence of targeted sounds--in the tactile channel, without interfering with  ongoing speaking or thought too much. Just a touch of feedback (or touch feedback) is often about all you need . . . 

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