Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Capture of Kinesthesis by a Competing Cutaneous Input

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Capture of Kinesthesis by a Competing Cutaneous Input

Article excerpt

Published online: 3 June 2012

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2012

Abstract In four experiments, blindfolded participants were presented with pairs of stimuli simultaneously, one to each index finger. Participants moved one index finger, which was presented with cutaneous and/or kinesthetic stimuli, and this movement caused a raised line to move underneath the other, stationary index finger in a yoked manner. The stimuli were 180° rotations of each other (e.g., < and >), and thus when a < was traced with the moving finger, it caused a > to be felt at the stationary finger. When asked to report the experience, participants predominantly reported the cutaneous stimulus, seemingly being ignorant of the kinesthetic stimulus. This appears to be an intrahaptic capture phenomenon, which is of interest because it suggests that conflict between intrahaptic sensory stimuli can go unnoticed; sometimes we are unaware of how we moved, and sometimes we do not know what we touched. The results are interpreted in light of optimal integration, perceptual suppression, reafference suppression, and inattentional blindness.

Keywords Haptics . Attention . Perception and action

Sensory cues can interact in a number of ways, depending on their sensory modalities, spatiotemporal properties, and whether they are consistent or contradictory. Attention, perceptual thresholds, and cue reliability also play roles. The two, or more, sensory cues may be blended to form a single percept, but with one modality having relatively more influence on the percept than another. A strong case of this is capture, which implies total dominance (i.e., one sensory cue having complete influence on a bimodal percept), such as the visual capture of the location of auditory stimuli seen in paradigmatic cases of the ventriloquist effect (Pick,Warren,& Hay, 1969). A sensory cue can also suppress another cue entirely, as in the Colavita effect, where participants often fail to respond to suprathreshold auditory stimuli when they are simultaneously presented with visual stimuli, despite an ability to respond to these stimuli when they are presented alone (Colavita, 1974; Sinnett, Spence, & Soto-Faraco, 2007).

Suppression can also happen intramodally, as in the interocular case of flash suppression, where a light flashed during a saccade is not seen (Dodge, 1900). A similar effect (i.e., saccadic suppression of displacement) occurs when the location of a target is changed during a saccade and is not noticed. Ziat, Hayward, Chapman, Ernst, and Lenay (2010) showed that a similar effect exists in haptics-namely, tactile suppression of displacement-and provided evidence suggesting that the effect is not due to movement "but to the brief interruption of sensory input when a feature is in the gap between two fingers" (p. 301).

Little is known about integration mechanisms for scenarios in which moving objects interact with observers who are themselves moving. Some studies have suggested a degree of visual capture of moving auditory stimuli by apparent visual motion (Sanabria, Soto-Faraco, & Spence, 2004). Seno, Ito, and Sunaga (2011) reported that the illusory perception of self-motion usually induced by purely visual stimuli (i.e., vection) is facilitated by self-generated locomotion on a treadmill. Calabro, Soto-Faraco, and Vaina (2011) showed that detection of visual movement is crossmodally facilitated by auditory stimuli. However, a large part of everyday, dynamic interactions with the causes of sensory cues occurs through haptics, and very little is known about the extent to which there is perceptual capture and suppression in this sensory modality.

An influential framework for understanding capture is optimal Bayesian cue integration (Ernst, 2004; van Beers, Wolpert, & Haggard, 2002). Important work has been done on visuoproprioceptive (e.g., Van Beers et al., 2002) and visuohaptic (e.g., Ernst & Banks, 2002) integration, arguing that they obey maximum likelihood estimation. …

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