The effect of perceptual grouping on haptic numerosity perception

K. Verlaers, J. Wagemans, K.E. Overvliet

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    We used a haptic enumeration task to investigate whether enumeration can be facilitated by perceptual grouping in the haptic modality. Eight participants were asked to count tangible dots as quickly and accurately as possible, while moving their finger pad over a tactile display. In Experiment 1, we manipulated the number and organization of the dots, while keeping the total exploration area constant. The dots were either evenly distributed on a horizontal line (baseline condition) or organized into groups based on either proximity (dots placed in closer proximity to each other) or configural cues (dots placed in a geometric configuration). In Experiment 2, we varied the distance between the subsets of dots. We hypothesized that when subsets of dots can be grouped together, the enumeration time will be shorter and accuracy will be higher than in the baseline condition. The results of both experiments showed faster enumeration for the configural condition than for the baseline condition, indicating that configural grouping also facilitates haptic enumeration. In Experiment 2, faster enumeration was also observed for the proximity condition than for the baseline condition. Thus, perceptual grouping speeds up haptic enumeration by both configural and proximity cues, suggesting that similar mechanisms underlie perceptual grouping in both visual and haptic enumeration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-367
    JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
    Issue number1
    Early online date24 Sept 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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