Thursday, May 10, 2012

See what it feels like? (How haptic anchors work.)

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
In a fascinating study by USC researchers, it was demonstrated that, " . . .‘feeling with the mind’s touch’ activates the same parts of the brain that would respond to actual touch . . . this suggests that human brains capture and store physical sensations, and then replay them when prompted by viewing the corresponding visual image." Haptic anchors, as used in HICP work, generally consist of one hand touching the other at specific location in the visual field as a word is articulated. (The learner may or may not be simultaneously looking at or visualizing the orthographical representation of the word or phrase as well.) When that anchor is recalled later, for example by a student in the class observing the instructor perform the anchor in response to an error in pronouncing the target sound, the research would suggest that that visual image should serve to activate in the brain of the student the physical sensations of both the touch event and the body-based resonance in the upper body and vocal track associated with the word--and possibly the alphabetic representation (letters) as well, depending on the cognitive preference of the learner. I can see you are getting a feel for it already . . . 

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