A comparison of visual and haptic object representations based on similarity

Theresa Cooke, Christian Wallraven, Heinrich Bulthoff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)


Do we judge similarity between two objects to be the same using touch and vision? We investigated this using psychophysical experiments in which subjects rated the similarity between objects presented either visually or haptically. The stimuli were a family of novel, three-dimensional objects whose microgeometry ("texture") and macrogeometry ("shape") were parametrically varied, Multidimensional scaling of the similarity data was used to reconstruct haptic and visual perceptual spaces. For both modalities, a two-dimensional perceptual space was found whose dimensions clearly corresponded to shape and texture. Interestingly, shape dominated in visual space, whereas both shape and texture were important in haptic space. Furthermore, stimuli clusters were observed in this space, suggesting the emergence of category structure based on similarity relationships. The same category boundaries were confirmed in a visual free sorting experiment. This study reveals differences in object processing across modality and demonstrates an approach for analyzing such differences in multisensory visualizations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - Ninth International Conference on Information Visualisation, iV05
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Event9th International Conference on Information Visualisation, iV05 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2005 Jul 62005 Jul 8

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Information Visualisation
ISSN (Print)1093-9547


Other9th International Conference on Information Visualisation, iV05
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Categorization
  • MDS
  • Psychophysics
  • Shape
  • Similarity
  • Texture
  • Touch/haptic
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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