Visual and haptic integration in the estimation of softness of deformable objects
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Open Access - Publikationsfonds
Department of General Psychology
Kurzfassung auf Englisch:
Softness perception intrinsically relies on haptic information. However, through everyday experiences we learn correspondences between felt softness and the visual effects of exploratory movements that are executed to feel softness. Here, we studied how visual and haptic information is integrated to assess the softness of deformable objects. Participants discriminated between the softness of two softer or two harder objects using only-visual, only-haptic or both visual and haptic information. We assessed the reliabilities of the softness judgments using the method of constant stimuli. In visuo-haptic trials, discrepancies between the two senses´ information allowed us to measure the contribution of the individual senses to the judgments. Visual information (finger movement and object deformation) was simulated using computer graphics; input in visual trials was taken from previous visuo-haptic trials. Participants were able to infer softness from vision alone, and vision considerably contributed to bisensory judgments (~35%). The visual contribution was higher than predicted from models of optimal integration (senses are weighted according to their reliabilities). Bisensory judgments were less reliable than predicted from optimal integration. We conclude that the visuo-haptic integration of softness information is biased toward vision, rather than being optimal, and might even be guided by a fixed weighting scheme.
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