Vibrotaction and texture perception

M. Hollins, S. J. Bensmaa, E. A. Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several recent studies support Katz's hypothesis that vibrotaction plays a role in the perception of tactile textures with elements too small and closely spaced to be processed spatially. For example, eliminating vibration by preventing movement of a stimulus surface across the skin compromises psychophysical scaling and discrimination of fine, but not coarse, textures. Fine-texture discrimination is also impaired when vibrotactile channels are desensitized by adaptation. A role for vibrotaction in texture perception is plausible, given the keenness of this submodality: the sensory qualities produced by a sinusoidal vibration uniquely specify its frequency and amplitude, and subjects can distinguish some complex vibrations that differ in waveform but have the same spectral components. Finally, imposed vibration can modify the perceived texture of a haptically-examined surface. Taken together, these lines of evidence support the view that vibrotaction is both necessary and sufficient for the perception of fine tactile textures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume135
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Pacinian
  • Roughness
  • Texture
  • Vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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