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Percept Psychophys. 2004 Feb;66(2):342-51.

The visual and haptic perception of natural object shape.

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Department of Psychology, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101, USA.


In this study, we evaluated observers' ability to compare naturally shaped three-dimensional (3-D) objects, using their senses of vision and touch. In one experiment, the observers haptically manipulated 1 object and then indicated which of 12 visible objects possessed the same shape. In the second experiment, pairs of objects were presented, and the observers indicated whether their 3-D shape was the same or different. The 2 objects were presented either unimodally (vision-vision or haptic-haptic) or cross-modally (vision-haptic or haptic-vision). In both experiments, the observers were able to compare 3-D shape across modalities with reasonably high levels of accuracy. In Experiment 1, for example, the observers' matching performance rose to 72% correct (chance performance was 8.3%) after five experimental sessions. In Experiment 2, small (but significant) differences in performance were obtained between the unimodal vision-vision condition and the two cross-modal conditions. Taken together, the results suggest that vision and touch have functionally overlapping, but not necessarily equivalent, representations of 3-D shape.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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