Going Against the Grain – Texture Orientation Affects Direction of Exploratory Movement
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In haptic perception sensory signals depend on how we actively move our hands. For textures with periodically repeating grooves, movement direction can determine temporal cues to spatial frequency. Moving in line with texture orientation does not generate temporal cues. In contrast, moving orthogonally to texture orientation maximizes the temporal frequency of stimulation, and thus optimizes temporal cues. Participants performed a spatial frequency discrimination task between stimuli of two types. The first type showed the described relationship between movement direction and temporal cues, the second stimulus type did not. We expected that when temporal cues can be optimized by moving in a certain direction, movements will be adjusted to this direction. However, movement adjustments were assumed to be based on sensory information, which accumulates over the exploration process. We analyzed 3 individual segments of the exploration process. As expected, participants only adjusted movement directions in the final exploration segment and only for the stimulus type, in which movement direction influenced temporal cues. We conclude that sensory signals on the texture orientation are used online during exploration in order to adjust subsequent movements. Once sufficient sensory evidence on the texture orientation was accumulated, movements were directed to optimize temporal cues.
KeywordsTexture Temporal integration Sensorimotor control Perception Psychophysics
We would like to thank Maria Ebsen and Claire Weyel for their help in collecting the data and Steffen Bruckbauer for help with the figures. This research was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG; grant SFB/TRR135/1, A05).
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