Influence of shape on haptic curvature perception

Ingrid M L C Vogels*, Astrid M L Kappers, Jan J. Koenderink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Curvature discrimination of hand-sized doubly curved surfaces by means of static touch was investigated. Stimuli consisted of hyperbolical, cylindrical, elliptical and spherical surfaces of various curvatures. In the first experiment subjects had to discriminate the curvature along a specified orientation (the discrimination orientation) of a doubly curved surface from a flat surface. The curvature to be discriminated was oriented either along the middle finger or across the middle finger of the right hand. Independent of the shape of the surface, thresholds were found to be about 1.6 times smaller along the middle finger than across the middle finger. Discrimination biases were found to be strongly influenced by the shape of the surface; subjects judged a curvature to be more convex when the perpendicular curvature was convex than when this curvature was concave. With the results of the second experiment it could be ruled out that the influence of shape on curvature perception was simply due to a systematic error made by the subject regarding the discrimination orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-289
Number of pages23
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999


  • Curvature perception
  • Haptics
  • Shape


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