Curvature discrimination in various finger conditions

Bernard J. Van der Horst, A. M L Kappers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The ability of humans to discriminate curvature was investigated for different finger conditions. The experiments were conducted in which subjects explored cylindrically curved stimuli by touch. Using a 2-alternative forced-choice procedure, discrimination thresholds and biases were measured for several conditions. In 1-finger conditions, reference and test stimulus were explored with the same finger, whereas in 2-finger conditions these stimuli were felt with different fingers. Similar thresholds were obtained for the 1-finger conditions, in which either the preferred or the non-preferred index finger or the thumb was employed. However, significantly higher thresholds were found for the conditions in which subjects used two fingers, either of the same hand or of different hands. Interestingly, even higher thresholds were obtained for a 2-finger condition in which subjects explored the stimuli simultaneously instead of sequentially. In addition, subject-dependent biases were found in the 2-finger conditions. We conclude that the number of fingers and the mode of exploration have a considerable effect on performance in a haptic task such as curvature discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • Bias
  • Bimanual
  • Curvature discrimination
  • Haptic perception
  • Index finger
  • Threshold
  • Thumb
  • Unimanual


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