Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The effects of temporal delay and orientation on haptic object recognition


We examined the effects of interstimulus interval (ISI) and orientation changes on the haptic recognition of novel objects, using a sequential shape-matching task. The stimuli consisted of 36 wedge-shaped plastic objects that varied along two shape dimensions (hole/bump and dip/ridge). Two objects were presented at either the same orientation or a different orientation, separated by either a short (3-sec) ISI or a long (15-sec) ISI. In separate conditions, ISI was blocked or randomly intermixed. Participants ignored orientation changes and matched on shape alone. Although performance was better in the mixed condition, there were no other differences between conditions. There was no decline in performance at the long ISI. There were similar, marginally significant benefits to same-orientation matching for short and long ISIs. The results suggest that the perceptual object representations activated from haptic inputs are both stable, being maintained for at least 15 sec, and orientation sensitive.


  1. Amedi, A., Jacobson, G., Hendler, T., Malach, R., & Zohary, E. (2002). Convergence of visual and tactile shape processing in the human lateral occipital complex. Cerebral Cortex, 12, 1202–1212. doi:10.1093/cercor/12.11.1202

  2. Amedi, A., Malach, R., Hendler, T., Peled, S., & Zohary, E. (2001). Visuo-haptic object-related activation in the ventral visual pathway. Nature Neuroscience, 4, 324–330. doi:10.1038/85201

  3. Craddock, M., & Lawson, R. (2008). Repetition priming and the haptic recognition of familiar and unfamiliar objects. Perception & Psychophysics, 70, 1350–1365. doi:10.3758/PP.70.7.1350

  4. Craddock, M., & Lawson, R. (2009a). The effects of size changes on haptic object recognition. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 71, 910–923. doi:10.3758/APP.71.4.910

  5. Craddock, M., & Lawson, R. (2009b). Size-sensitive perceptual representations underlie visual and haptic object recognition. PLoS ONE, 4, e8009. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008009

  6. Ellis, R., & Allport, D. A. (1986). Multiple levels of representation for visual objects: A behavioural study. In A. G. Cohn & J. R. Thomas (Eds.), Artificial intelligence and its applications (pp. 245–257). Chichester, U.K.: Wiley.

  7. Ellis, R., Allport, D. A., Humphreys, G. W., & Collis, J. (1989). Varieties of object constancy. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 41A, 775–796.

  8. Gallace, A., Tan, H. Z., Haggard, P., & Spence, C. (2008). Short term memory for tactile stimuli. Brain Research, 1190, 132–142. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2007.11.014

  9. Gilson, E. Q., & Baddeley, A. D. (1969). Tactile short-term memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 21, 180–184. doi:10.1080/14640746908400211

  10. Humphrey, G. K., & Lupker, S. J. (1993). Codes and operations in picture matching. Psychological Research, 55, 237–247.

  11. Jarmasz, J., & Hollands, J. G. (2009). Confidence intervals in repeated-measures designs: The number of observations principle. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 124–138. doi:10.1037/a0014164

  12. Kiphart, M. J., Hughes, J. L., Simmons, J. P., & Cross, H. A. (1992). Short-term haptic memory for complex objects. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 30, 212–214.

  13. Klatzky, R. L., Lederman, S. J., & Metzger, V. A. (1985). Identifying objects by touch: An “expert system.” Perception & Psychophysics, 37, 299–302.

  14. Lacey, S., Peters, A., & Sathian, K. (2007). Cross-modal object recognition is viewpoint-independent. PLoS ONE, 2, e890. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0000890

  15. Lawson, R. (1999). Achieving visual object constancy across plane rotation and depth rotation. Acta Psychologica, 102, 221–245. doi:10.1016/ S0001-6918(98)00052-3

  16. Lawson, R. (2009). A comparison of the effects of depth rotation on visual and haptic three-dimensional object recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 35, 911–930. doi:10.1037/a0015025

  17. Lawson, R., & Humphreys, G. (1996). View specificity in object processing: Evidence from picture matching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 22, 395–416. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.22.2.395

  18. Loftus, G. R., & Masson, M. E. J. (1994). Using confidence intervals in within-subject designs. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1, 476–490.

  19. Macmillan, N. A., & Creelman, C. D. (2005). Detection theory: A user’s guide. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

  20. Miles, C., & Borthwick, H. (1996). Tactile short-term memory revisited. Memory, 4, 655–668.

  21. Millar, S. (1974). Tactile short-term memory by blind and sighted children. British Journal of Psychology, 65, 253–263.

  22. Miquée, A., Xerri, C., Rainville, C., Anton, J.-L., Nazarian, B., Roth, M., & Zennou-Azogui, Y. (2008). Neuronal substrates of haptic shape encoding and matching: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Neuroscience, 152, 29–39. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.12.021

  23. Newell, F. N., Ernst, M. O., Tjan, B. S., & Bülthoff, H. H. (2001). Viewpoint dependence in visual and haptic object recognition. Psychological Science, 12, 37–42. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00307

  24. Norman, J. F., Clayton, A. M., Norman, H. F., & Crabtree, C. E. (2008). Learning to perceive differences in solid shape through vision and touch. Perception, 37, 185–196. doi:10.1068/p5679

  25. Schooler, L. J., & Shiffrin, R. M. (2005). Efficiently measuring recognition performance with sparse data. Behavior Research Methods, 37, 3–10.

  26. Sullivan, E. V., & Turvey, M. T. (1972). Short-term retention of tactile stimulation. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 24, 253–261. doi:10.1080/14640747208400278

  27. Tarr, M. J., & Cheng, Y. D. (2003). Learning to see faces and objects. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 23–30. doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(02)00010-4.

  28. Woods, A. T., O’Modhrain, S., & Newell, F. N. (2004). The effect of temporal delay and spatial differences on cross-modal object recognition. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 4, 260–269. doi:10.3758/CABN.4.2.260

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Matt Craddock.

Additional information

This research was supported by an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council DTA studentship to the first author and by a fellowship from the Economic and Social Research Council (RES-000-27-0162) to the second author.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Craddock, M., Lawson, R. The effects of temporal delay and orientation on haptic object recognition. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 72, 1975–1980 (2010). https://doi.org/10.3758/APP.72.7.1975

Download citation


  • Lawson
  • Haptic Object Recognition
  • Erce Ption
  • Reco Gniti