Perceptual representations of parametrically-defined and natural objects comparing vision and haptics

Nina Gaißert, Christian Wallraven

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


Studies concerning how the brain might represent objects by means of a perceptual space have primarily focused on the visual domain. Here we want to show that the haptic modality can equally well recover the underlying structure of a physical object space, forming a perceptual space that is highly congruent to the visual perceptual space. By varying three shape parameters a physical shape space of shell-like objects was generated. Sighted participants explored pictures of the objects while blindfolded participants haptically explored 3D printouts of the objects. Similarity ratings were performed and analyzed using multidimensional scaling (MDS) techniques. Visual and haptic similarity ratings highly correlated and resulted in very similar visual and haptic MDS maps. To investigate to which degree these results are transferrable to natural objects, we performed the same visual and haptic similarity ratings and multidimensional scaling analyses using a set of natural sea shells. Again, we found very similar perceptual spaces in the haptic and visual domain. Our results suggest that the haptic modality is capable of surprisingly acute processing of complex shape.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2010 IEEE Haptics Symposium, HAPTICS 2010
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 IEEE Haptics Symposium, HAPTICS 2010 - Waltham, MA, United States
Duration: 2010 Mar 252010 Mar 26

Publication series

Name2010 IEEE Haptics Symposium, HAPTICS 2010


Other2010 IEEE Haptics Symposium, HAPTICS 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWaltham, MA


  • Computer generated objects
  • Haptics
  • I.4.10 [image processing and computer vision]: image representation-multidimensional
  • I.4.7 [image processing and computer vision]: feature measurement feature representation
  • I.5.3 [pattern recognition]: clustering-similarity measures
  • Multidimensional scaling
  • Natural objects
  • Perceptual space
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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