What is Haptic memory?
It is a form of sensory memory; specific to touch stimuli. Haptic memory is used regularly when assessing the necessary forces for gripping and interacting with familiar objects. It may also influence one's interactions with novel objects of an apparently similar size and density."
In simple words, Haptic memory is the memory or things that are stored in our brain when we come across some stimuli through our sensory organs such as skin. For example- when we touch a hot kettle full of hot water or milk, our hand on touching gives a signal to the brain that the object we have touched is hot and we withdraw our hands from the object i.e. we respond to that stimuli.
And, this information of the object being hot is haptic memory which is stored in the brain and which helps us to assess the object and helps in responding to that particular stimulus. This haptic memory has a shelf life of about two seconds. This means that this information lasts in our minds for about two seconds only. This haptic memory may be the same in the case of similar objects with different sizes and densities.
Haptic memory involves two subsystems:
- Cutaneous- Everything related to skin or felt through the skin
- Kinesthetic- Everything related or felt through to joints, ankles, or other body organs.
Haptics memory generally involves active, manual examination and is quite capable of processing physical traits of objects and surfaces.
Development of Haptic memory in infancy
Many researchers claimed the competence of the infant’s hands for processing information about objects' shape and size. As per many researchers, "several experiments on infants from birth and up to five months of age using a habituation/dishabituation procedure, intermodal transfer task between touch and vision, and various cognitive tasks revealed that infants might perceive and understand the physical world through their hands without visual control.
From birth, infants can habituate to shape and detect discrepancies between shapes equally well with either hand. However, beyond this first level of information processing, as soon as the tasks impose a cognitive load, such as memory, an asymmetry between hands and non-reversible transfer between hands and eyes are evident during the first five months. In contrast, when infants abstract information from an event not totally felt or seen, amodal mechanisms underlie haptic and visual knowledge in early infancy."