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Touch level

The sensory level of development of the psyche is associated with the transformation of the originally undifferentiated sensitivity into differentiated sensations. As shown by A.N. Leont'ev, the latter occur during the development of animal organisms more and more complex and diverse habitats.

Among other mental processes, sensations are distinguished by their paradoxical specificity. L.M. Vekker notes that, on the one hand, the sensation is formed in the space of the neurophysiological substrate and is an ordered set of states of the latter, and on the other - it gives "an idea of ​​the properties of objects exactly as their own properties of objects outside the subject".

Thus, a characteristic feature of sensation is its duality, belonging both to physiological and psychic phenomena. At the same time, within the framework of mental processes, sensations appear as phenomena essentially adjacent to emotions. It is not by chance that the concepts of “sensing” and “feeling” are often interchangeable: the ability to feel is called sensitivity, the organs of sensations - the organs of sense. You can say about the feeling of bitterness in the mouth and the feeling of joy, etc. The notion of “emotional tone of sensations” is known (V. Wundt, P.V. Simonov, V.K. Vilyunas). All this suggests the blurring of the boundary between sensations and emotional phenomena.

Sensation can be viewed as a psychophysiological process consisting of two beginnings: 1) an imprint of an irritant, an “ordered set of states” of a neurophysiological substrate, and 2) an emotional equivalent, acting as a “sensory representation” (W. Wundt).

Regardless of whether a particular sensation is contact, distant or olfactory, it is, on the one hand, the imprint, the carrier of the direct material connection of the subject with the object; on the other hand, as underlined by LM Vekker, it has "object specificity", which, following VK. Vilyunas can be associated with Wundt mergers of "simple feelings". At the same time, the emotional beginning of the sensation can be considered not as its emotional tone, but as a direct component. According to common beliefs (W. James, W. MacDougall, V.K. Viliunas), in reflex acts of instinctive behavior, an emotion arises between stimulus and reaction, which serves as a direct impulse to action. This interpretation can reasonably be extended to sensations, which, as is well known, are holistic reflex acts. In this case, Wundt "sensual representations" of certain specific qualities of stimuli, appearing during sensations, can be considered as primary elementary emotions resulting from the synthesizing process in the central and efferent parts of the corresponding reflexes.

According to W. Wundt, “simple feelings” form a single whole coherent diversity ”, which can be expressed in three dimensions - excitement, tension and pleasure, each of which has both a positive and negative vector. V. Wundt argues for showing the “direct relationship” of sensual tones of various sensations: “It seems to us that the low tones correspond to dark colors and black, the high tones correspond to light colors and white. A sharp sound, such as a trumpet sound, and colors from an exciting series — yellow and light red — correspond to each other ... Similar comparisons ... we also make when we distinguish warm and cold colors, or we say: “sharp sound "And" saturated color ", etc.".

The undoubted analogy, even the interchangeability of sound and color sensations is well shown by V.G. Korolenko in the story "The Blind Musician". To this can be added the same analogy of taste and olfactory, visual and tactile sensations, etc. As you know, deaf-hearing people from birth, however, have a holistic picture of the world, based on their other sensations. All this testifies to the interchangeability of sensations, which is due to the presence in them along with the physiological emotional beginning.

The general structure of vital activity at the sensory level can be represented as follows:

Actualization of need - background (search) activity - SER - the achievement of the subject of need.

SER (stimulus - emotion - reaction) is a reflex act of sensation with corresponding effector links. The relationship between the need and its subject is complicated; now it includes background activity and a holistic reflex, which developed from the simplest “pra-reflex” of the previous level. The nature of the background activity is also changing. At this level, it is determined by the general sensitivity to those properties of the medium that previously caused the activity itself. The former active phase itself becomes background activity, its component. The central actually active phase becomes a differentiated sensation with additional effector units.

The reflective aspect of the subject’s connection with the object has a dual character: on the one hand, direct interaction with the object (stimuli - receptors), and on the other, the mental (emotional) onset of sensation resulting from synthesis in the central and efferent links of the reflex. The result of reflection accordingly appears, on the one hand, as an immediate “imprint” of the vital properties of the object in the neurophysiological substrate (internal aspect), and on the other - as the “sensory representation” of these properties (external aspect).

Note that at the sensory level, the connection of the subject with the object, while remaining direct, is significantly different from the direct interaction with the environment characteristic of the previous level. This connection is much more organized by the psychic beginning. Already at the level of undifferentiated sensitivity, we can state the conditionality of reflection by biological “semantic connection” (A.N. Leontiev), as a result of the formation of which “the corresponding need ... as if“ recognizes itself ”in this subject-stimulator, is specified in it”. At the sensory level, this relationship is functionally formalized as a holistic reflex process, which can be considered as the main organization-wide beginning of the life of this phase of phylogenesis.

There is a long evolutionary path between the level of undifferentiated sensitivity and the sensory level - the level of differentiated sensations.
A reflection of this path are many modern animals that are at intermediate levels of development. These include the majority of intestinal cavities (including hydra, jellyfish, some anemone), inferior worms, and a number of other invertebrates. It should be borne in mind that all living animals in phylogenetic terms are the lateral branches of evolutionary development, which do not always coincide with the identified levels of mental reflection (Fig. 1.4).

Fig. 1.4.

Modern animals and levels of mental development in phylogenesis

Nevertheless, a large group of lower invertebrates — higher (ringed) worms, echinoderms, bivalves, gastropods (snails), and many others generally correspond to the sensory level of the psychic. Most of this applies to most types of annelids.

Motor activity of annelids is quite diverse and complex. Locomotion is provided by well-developed musculature consisting of the so-called skin-muscular sac. Its outer layer is represented by annular fibers, the inner one is longitudinal. When moving, the worm rhythmically reduces its longitudinal and circular muscles, as a result of which individual segments alternately stretch and contract.

For ringed worms, for the first time in evolution, paired limbs appear - parapodia. On each segment there are paired processes, usually provided with supporting setae. Special muscles can move them forward or backward. Parapodia are also provided with tactile and chemical sensitivity organs that look like tentacles. At the head end, parapodia serve as mouthparts. In many ringed worms, including earthworms, parapodia are reduced to invisible to the naked eye tufts of bristles, which are paired on each segment. However, in combination with contractions of the skin-muscular sac, they promote movement.

The sensory organs of typical representatives of the sensory level of the psyche are both weakly and morphologically and functionally differentiated. K.E. Fabri believes that initially they were receptor cells with increased overall (undifferentiated) sensitivity. According to the accepted concepts, all the senses in phylogenesis arose on the basis of the organs of touch. In the most primitive animals, the touch ability of all the cells of the body surface. Then (already in the intestinal cavity) accumulations of specialized tactile cells appear - the primary organs of touch. Often, they simultaneously perform an olfactory function. Morphological and functional fusion of the organs of touch and smell is a characteristic feature of the majority of representatives of the sensory level of development of the psyche.

At the same time, the main vital activity (catching) of animals of this level is carried out using only one of the sense organs - touch, less often smell or sight. The organs of vision in these animals are either absent altogether, or represent only the organs of photosensitivity, allowing to distinguish light from darkness and determine the location of the light source.

The vital activity of most ringed worms consists mainly of innate stereotypical programs (ingestion of a substrate containing food components, filtering water with small animals, etc.). It can be represented as a constant repetition of the same reflex act of sensation (usually tactile), supplemented by appropriate effector links (ingestion, filtering, etc.). It is easy to see that this monotonous reflex activity, almost devoid of situationality, is the actual active phase of life activity, corresponding to the mental reflection of the maximum possible level for these animals.

The phase of the background activity is associated with the majority of annelids with the search for a substrate containing food components. In general, it does not involve the participation of differentiated sensations and, in all likelihood, is usually carried out on the basis of undifferentiated or weakly differentiated sensitivity.

Note that at this level of development of the psyche, the main part of life activity is represented by the phase of the activity itself, consisting of monotonous reflex acts. The need for search activity arises sporadically, and in some cases (for example, ringed worms, which conduct their entire life cycle in sludge, earthworms in humus-rich soils, etc.) may not appear at all.

The plasticity of behavior in animals of the sensory level of development of the psyche is poorly expressed. As for the simplest, they are characterized by the most primitive form of plasticity of behavior - addiction. Congenital reactions to those or other stimuli that remain without consequences, after repeated repeated exposures cease. Thus, the earthworm, which reacts to a sudden decrease in the intensity of illumination with movements of flight, stops these reactions after a certain number of repetitions.

Nevertheless, already at this level, the beginnings of the ability to associative connections appear, although the latter are formed with difficulty and within limited limits. In the experiments of R. Yerks, earthworms were placed in a T-shaped labyrinth, where in one of two possible "moves" they received an electric shock (Fig. 1.5). After 120-180 repetitions, they began to constantly choose a safe direction. Snails in similar experiments were accustomed to choose the right direction after 60 repetitions, remembering the correct decision for 30 days.

Fig. 1.5.

Learning from the earthworm

(by K.E. Fabry)

In experiments with worms, it was also established that they are able to learn how to correctly navigate the maze even without previously deleted front segments. Thus, each of the segments to a large extent autonomously provides for the vital activity of animals. This testifies to the still relatively small influence of the begun process of cephalization (separation of the head section) on behavioral acts. Nevertheless, the definite role of the front segments is still undoubted: after cutting the earthworm in half, the front half digs into the ground, making the same coordinated movements as the whole worm, while the back part twists randomly.
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Touch level

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