Haptic pop-out of movable stimuli

V. van Polanen, W.M. Bergmann Tiest, A.M.L. Kappers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


When, in visual and haptic search, a target is easily found among distractors, this is called a pop-out effect. The target feature is then believed to be salient, and the search is performed in a parallel way. We investigated this effect with movable stimuli in a haptic search task. The task was to find a movable ball among anchored distractors or the other way round. Results show that reaction times were independent of the number of distractors if the movable ball was the target but increased with the number of items if the anchored ball was the target. Analysis of hand movements revealed a parallel search strategy, shorter movement paths, a higher average movement speed, and a narrower direction distribution with the movable target, as compared with a more detailed search for an anchored target. Taken together, these results show that a movable object pops out between anchored objects and this indicates that movability is a salient object feature. Vibratory signals resulting from the movable ball were found to be a reasonable explanation regarding the sensation responsible for the pop-out of movability. © 2011 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-215
JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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