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January 1965

Sensory Dominance: In Autistic Imbecile Children and Controls

Author Affiliations

Social Psychiatry Research Unit, Medical Research Council, Institute of Psychiatry.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;12(1):99-103. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01720310101015

Introduction  Renshaw (1930), and more recently Birch (1962), have proposed that the concepts of sensory system hierarchy and sensory dominance may provide developmental and diagnostic differentials in children. According to these workers the developing child goes through a number of sequences in the course of which alterations in the nature of the hierarchical structure of avenues of senses occur. Thus interoceptive and visceral sensations are dominant in the infant, and this dominance is gradually superseded, first by tactile and kinesthetic, and then by telereceptor, ie, the auditory and visual sensory systems. Once a certain stage of development has been reached, the meaning rather than the modality of stimuli will determine their place in the hierarchy. Thus the second signaling system, concerned with meaning and language, comes to dominate and direct the first, which is concerned with the discrimination and organization of sensory input.

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