4th Annual Meeting of the International Multisensory Research Forum
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Fiona N. Newell

Multisensory perception of actively explored objects
Single Paper Presentation

Fiona N. Newell
Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Heinrich H. Bülthoff
Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Germany

Marc O. Ernst
Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Germany

     Abstract ID Number: 76
     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: May 20, 2003

Many objects in our world can be picked up and freely manipulated, thus allowing information about an object to be available to both the visual and haptic systems. However, we understand very little about how object information is shared across the modalities. Under constrained viewing cross-modal object recognition is most efficient when the same surface of an object is presented to the visual and haptic systems (Newell et al. 2001). Here we tested cross modal recognition under active manipulation and unconstrained viewing of the objects. In Experiment 1, participants were allowed 30 seconds to learn unfamiliar objects visually or haptically. Haptic learning resulted in relatively poor haptic recogition performance relative to visual recognition. In Experiment 2, we increased the learning time for haptic exploration and found equivalent haptic and visual recognition, but a cost in cross modal recognition. In Experiment 3, participants learned the objects using both modalities together, vision alone or haptics alone. Recognition performance was tested using both modalities together. We found that recognition performance was significantly better when objects were learned by both modalities than either of the modalities alone. Our results suggest that efficient cross modal performance depends on the spatial correspondence of object information across modalities.

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