Cross-Modal Associations between Color and Haptics

By Slobodenyuk, Nadiya; Jraissati, Yasmina et al. | Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, May 2015 | Go to article overview

Cross-Modal Associations between Color and Haptics


Slobodenyuk, Nadiya, Jraissati, Yasmina, Kanso, Ali, Ghanem, Lama, Elhajj, Imad, Attention, Perception and Psychophysics


Published online: 4 March 2015

# The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2015

Abstract The objective of the present study was to explore cross-modal associations between color and tactile sensation while using haptically rendered virtual stimuli with substance properties of roughness/smoothness, hardness/softness, heaviness/lightness, elasticity/inelasticity, and adhesiveness/ nonadhesiveness. The stimuli with the indicated properties were rendered with the aid of SensAble PHANTOM OMNI® haptic device. The experimental setup required the participants to use exploratory procedures typical to real object interaction, and select a color from the HSV color space that matched the experienced sensation. The findings of our investigation reveal systematic mapping between color characteristics and intensity of the haptic stimuli. Qualitatively different haptic sensations, however, produced relatively similar patterns of cross-modal associations.

Keywords Cross-modal associations . Haptic perception . Color

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Cross-modal correspondences can be generally defined in terms of nonarbitrary associations across perceptual modalities. Although these types of associations have been increasingly studied in the past years, their specific nature is still unclear (see Spence, 2011, and Deroy & Spence, 2013a,for review). A large body of research shows that in addition to the relatively infrequent synesthetic cross-modal associations, mappings between sensations from different modalities are common in general population and particularly strong in children. Several accounts of cross-modal associations found in general population have been proposed in the literature. The neonatal synesthesia hypothesis traces adult cross-modal associations to infancy and presumes a shared origin of synesthetic, infant, and adult cross-modal experiences. The hypothesis is based on the evidence that functional connections between and within sensory areas found at birth, to some extent persist into adulthood, and proposes that these connections account for the cross-modal associations. Synesthetic associations, according to the hypothesis, could be explained by selective exaggeration of these connections (Spector & Maurer, 2009). Such unifying account of the synesthetic perception, childhood, and adult cross-modal associations that assumes shared origin and continuity of the common cross-modal associations and rare cases of synesthesia, however, has been placed under scrutiny due to either partial empirical evidence or its radical interpretation. Weak points of the hypothesis that have been pointed out pertain to the inference of cross-modal experience in infants on the basis of increased connectivity, as well as substantial qualitative differences between adult cross-modal mappings and synesthetic associations (see Deroy & Spence, 2013b, for the extended argument).

Other accounts of cross-modal correspondences do not necessarily reject the whole idea of the early low-level mechanisms but presume that "although cross-modal correspondence may arise from sensory mechanisms in infants, these correspondences reflect postsensory (meaning-based) mechanisms in adults" (Martino & Marks, 2001, p. 64). The idea of the semantic nature of cross-modal associations is grounded in the work of Osgood and his colleagues (Osgood, 1952; Osgood & Suci, 1955; Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957) who proposed that perceptual experiences are mapped into multidimensional semantic space with the main empirically singled dimensions of potency, activity,andevaluative meaning. Each dimension is represented by a range of scales defined by polar adjectives. For example, large-small, heavy- light, thick-thin, and strong-week represent the potency dimension. Fast-slow, active-passive, hot-cold, sharp-dull, and angular-rounded are examples of the activity dimension. Good-bad, sweet-sour, sweet-bitter, fragrant-foul, and beautiful-ugly represent the evaluative dimension. …

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