, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 222-232

Haptic processing of spatially distributed information


A haptic search paradigm, adapted from Treisman and Gelade’s (1980) visual search tasks, was used as an initial step in addressing issues relevant to the development of models of human and machine haptic object processing. Texture and/or edge-orientation information were presented to multiple finger locations in disjunction (Experiment 1) and conjunction (Experiment 2) search tasks. In Experiment 3, subjects performed a difficult single-feature (orientation) search. Although the disjunction task could be interpreted with parallel or serial exhaustive models of haptic processing, subjects showed a shift toward serial self-terminating processing with the more complex and difficult tasks. These results indicate processing changes when features of texture and shape must be integrated. Given other converging evidence, texture may be a better candidate than edge orientation for early perceptual processing, with information being processed preattentively and in parallel.

This research was supported by grants to S.J.L. and R.A.B, from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.