Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 385–395 | Cite as

Tactile roughness of grooved surfaces: The touching process and effects of macro- and microsurface structure

  • Susan J. Lederman


Ss made magnitude estimates of the perceived roughness of grooved aluminum plates. Two aspects of the touching process were altered and their effects upon roughness examined. Roughness increased with increasing finger force, regardless of whether the S or the E chose the values. Rate of hand motion had a negligible effect on perceived roughness, indicating a roughness constancy and providing further evidence of the relative unimportance of vibratory frequency. The effects of these components of the touching process were discussed in terms of an active-passive continuum rather than a dichotomy. Perceived roughness declined with increasing land width (with narrow grooves), although only over the widest half of the land range; there was no land effect when the grooves were wide. In addition to these macrostructural parameters, the effects of two stimulus production techniques were compared. The discrepancies between the two sets of data were interpreted in terms of the microscopic irregularities of the plate surfaces. The findings were briefly related to an analysis of perceived roughness of grooved surfaces in terms of static deformation of the skin.


Electric Discharge Machine Groove Width Finger Force Groove Surface Fingertip Force 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ekman, G., Hosman, J., &Lindström, B. Roughness, smoothness and preference: A study of quantitative relations in individual subjects.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1965,70, 18–26.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Gibson, J. J.The senses considered as perceptual systems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966.Google Scholar
  3. Katz, D.Der Aufbau der Tastwelt (The world of touch). Leipzig: Barth, 1925.Google Scholar
  4. Krueger, L. David Katz’s Der Aufbau der Tastwelt (The world of touch) A synopsis.Perception & Psychophysics, 1970,7, 337–341.Google Scholar
  5. Lederman, S. J. The perception of surface roughness by touch. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, 1973.Google Scholar
  6. Lederman, S. J., &Taylor, M. M. Fingertip force, surface geometry, and the perception of roughness by active touch.Perception & Psychophysics, 1972,12, 401–408.Google Scholar
  7. Meenes, M., &Zigler, M. J. An experimental study of the perceptions roughness and smoothness.American Journal of Psychology, 1923,34, 542–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Stevens, S. S., &Harris, J. R. The scaling of subjective roughness and smoothness.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1962, 64, 489–494.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Taylor, M. M., & Lederman, S. J. Tactile perception of grooved surfaces: A model and the effect of friction.Perception & Psychophysics, 1974, in press.Google Scholar
  10. Taylor, M. M., Lederman, S. J., &Gibson, R. H. Tactual perception of texture. In E. Carterette and M. Friedman (Eds.),Handbook of perception. Vol. III. New York: Academic Press, 1973. Pp. 251–272.Google Scholar
  11. Zigler, M. J. David Katz’s Der Aufbau der Tastwelt.Psychological Bulletin, 1926,23, 326–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan J. Lederman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Toronto and Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental MedicineTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations