WMU News

Expert on sense of touch visits WMU

March 7, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- A prominent researcher known for his work on tactile and haptic (touch) perception will visit the WMU campus Tuesday, March 13, to talk about his recent findings.

Morton Heller is widely known for his research on the sense of touch, especially as it relates to individuals who are blind. He has published more than 50 articles on such topics as Braille recognition, form perception, haptic illusions and sensory aids. His books include "The Psychology of Touch," published in 1991, and "Touch, Representation and Blindness," published in 2000.

Heller's recent work has focused on the production and perception of raised-line drawings by people who are blind. He will present an overview of non-visual perception as it relates to the production and recognition of tangible or raised-line pictures along with some of the latest findings in his research from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March, 13, in Room 1010 of the Fetzer Center. Heller's presentation is titled "Tangible Pictures by People who are Blind."

Heller is professor and chairperson of the Department of Psychology at Eastern Illinois University. He received his master's in general psychology in 1970 and his doctorate in experimental psychology in 1974, both at Yeshiva University.

Before joining the faculty at Eastern Illinois University, he served as a visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and was a professor of psychology at Winston-Salem State University from 1975 to 1998.

Heller's research has been awarded several large grants from the National Institutes of Health and also earned him a Distinguished Research Award in 1998 from Winston-Salem State University. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society and the Psychonomic Society. He has presented papers at numerous conferences, annual meetings and symposiums across the country.

Heller's talk is jointly sponsored by the WMU Department of Blind Rehabilitation and Department of Psychology and is part of the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 and has supported some 500 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. James M. Hillenbrand, professor of speech pathology and audiology.

For more information, call Dr. David Guth, WMU professor of blind rehabilitation, at (616) 387-3446.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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