The buzz-lag effect

Abstract

In the flash-lag illusion, a brief visual flash and a moving object presented at the same location appear to be offset with the flash trailing the moving object. A considerable amount of studies investigated the visual flash-lag effect, and flash-lag-like effects have also been observed in audition, and cross-modally between vision and audition. In the present study, we investigate whether a similar effect can also be observed when using only haptic stimuli. A fast vibration (or buzz, lasting less than 20 ms) was applied to the moving finger of the observers and employed as a “haptic flash.” Participants performed a two-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) task where they had to judge whether the moving finger was located to the right or to the left of the stationary finger at the time of the buzz. We used two different movement velocities (Slow and Fast conditions). We found that the moving finger was systematically misperceived to be ahead of the stationary finger when the two were physically aligned. This result can be interpreted as a purely haptic analogue of the flash-lag effect, which we refer to as “buzz-lag effect.” The buzz-lag effect can be well accounted for by the temporal-sampling explanation of flash-lag-like effects.

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Acknowledgments

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007–2013 under Grant Agreement Number 214728-2.

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Correspondence to Cristiano Cellini.

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Cellini, C., Scocchia, L. & Drewing, K. The buzz-lag effect. Exp Brain Res 234, 2849–2857 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-016-4687-4

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Keywords

  • Flash-lag effect
  • Temporal sampling
  • Haptic mislocalizations
  • Motor control