Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Additional Departmental Affiliation

Psychological Sciences

Document Type



Visual and haptic (tactile) modes of perception, while occasionally exercised independently, most often occur concurrently. The degree to which the ordering of the two modes of perception affects successful recognition of three-dimensional shapes varies. Some have found that the cross-modal orders (vision followed by haptics or vice versa) produce equal performance (Caviness, 1964; Lacey, Peters, & Sathian, 2007; Norman et al., 2006), while other researchers found visual-haptic (VH) performance to be superior to haptic-visual (HV) performance (Davidson, Abbott, & Gershenfeld, 1974; Norman, Clayton, Norman, & Crabtree, 2008). The current experiment used an old-new recognition task (with cookie cutter stimuli). In one condition, half of the participants visually studied four randomly chosen cookie cutters and their recognition ability was then tested haptically. In a second condition, the remaining half of the participants studied four cookie cutters haptically through active touch and their recognition ability was then tested visually. The participants’ recognition performance was equally high for both conditions (i.e., 80.0 and 76.3 percent correct for the vision-haptic and haptic-vision conditions, respectively). The current results demonstrate that human participants can effectively compare object shapes across the sensory modalities of vision and touch.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

J. Farley Norman, Ph.D.


Biology | Cognition and Perception | Cognitive Psychology