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Top-down modulation of shape and roughness discrimination in active touch by covert attention.

Metzger, A., Mueller, S., Fiehler, K. and Drewing, K., 2018. Top-down modulation of shape and roughness discrimination in active touch by covert attention. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 81, 462-475.

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TopDownHapticPerception_final2.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.3758/s13414-018-1625-5


Due to limitations in perceptual processing, information relevant to momentary task goals is selected from the vast amount of available sensory information by top-down mechanisms (e.g. attention) that can increase perceptual performance. We investigated how covert attention affects perception of 3D objects in active touch. In our experiment, participants simultaneously explored the shape and roughness of two objects in sequence, and were told afterwards to compare the two objects with regard to one of the two features. To direct the focus of covert attention to the different features we manipulated the expectation of a shape or roughness judgment by varying the frequency of trials for each task (20%, 50%, 80%), then we measured discrimination thresholds. We found higher discrimination thresholds for both shape and roughness perception when the task was unexpected, compared to the conditions in which the task was expected (or both tasks were expected equally). Our results suggest that active touch perception is modulated by expectations about the task. This implies that despite fundamental differences, active and passive touch are affected by feature selective covert attention in a similar way.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Haptic perception; Top-down; Expectation; Attention; Roughness; Shape; Psychophysics
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:37190
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:19 Jul 2022 08:32
Last Modified:19 Jul 2022 08:32


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