Haptic search for hard and soft spheres

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

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this study the saliency of hardness and softness were investigated in an active haptic search task. Two experiments were performed to explore these properties in different contexts. In Experiment 1, blindfolded participants had to grasp a bundle of spheres and determine the presence of a hard target among soft distractors or vice versa. If the difference in compliance between target and distractors was small, reaction times increased with the number of items for both features; a serial strategy was found to be used. When the difference in compliance was large, the reaction times were independent of the number of items, indicating a parallel strategy. In Experiment 2, blindfolded participants pressed their hand on a display filled with hard and soft items. In the search for a soft target, increasing reaction times with the number of items were found, but the location of target and distractors appeared to have a large influence on the search difficulty. In the search for a hard target, reaction times did not depend on the number of items. In sum, this showed that both hardness and softness are salient features. © 2012 van Polanen et al.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e45298
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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