Integration and disruption effects of shape and texture in haptic search

Vonne van Polanen, Wouter M. Bergmann Tiest, Astrid M.L. Kappers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


In a search task, where one has to search for the presence of a target among distractors, the target is sometimes easily found, whereas in other searches it is much harder to find. The performance in a search task is influenced by the identity of the target, the identity of the distractors and the differences between the two. In this study, these factors were manipulated by varying the target and distractors in shape (cube or sphere) and roughness (rough or smooth) in a haptic search task. Participants had to grasp a bundle of items and determine as fast as possible whether a predefined target was present or not. It was found that roughness and edges were relatively salient features and the search for the presence of these features was faster than for their absence. If the task was easy, the addition of these features could also disrupt performance, even if they were irrelevant for the search task. Another important finding was that the search for a target that differed in two properties from the distractors was faster than a task with only a single property difference, although this was only found if the two target properties were non-salient. This means that shape and texture can be effectively integrated. Finally, it was found that edges are more beneficial to a search task than disrupting, whereas for roughness this was the other way round.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere70255
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

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