How many objects are inside this box?

Myrthe A. Plaisier, Jeroen B.J. Smeets

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To judge the contents of a box, we do not necessarily have to open it. By shaking a box we can make an estimate of its contents based on haptic and auditory information. Not much is known about the perception of properties of objects that are inside a box. In this study we investigated how accurately participants can judge the number of wooden spheres inside a small handheld box by shaking the box. This was done in a 'haptic + auditory' condition in which participants shook the box and in a subsequent 'auditory only' condition in which recorded sounds from the trials in the haptic + auditory condition were played back. In both conditions participants had to judge the number of spheres (1 to 5) inside the box. In the haptic + auditory condition participants could perform this task accurately for up to about 3 spheres, while for larger numbers they systematically underestimated the numerosity. Although participants could perform this task above chance in both conditions, accuracy was lower in the auditory condition than in the haptic + auditory condition. By actively shaking the box the number of objects inside can be judged accurately for up to 3 objects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2017 IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC)
Subtitle of host publication[Proceedings]
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781509014255
ISBN (Print)9781509014262
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event7th IEEE World Haptics Conference, WHC 2017 - Munich, Germany
Duration: 6 Jun 20179 Jun 2017


Conference7th IEEE World Haptics Conference, WHC 2017


* This work was financed by a VENI grant (2012/23306/MAGW) from the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

FundersFunder number
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


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