Cross-modal object recognition is viewpoint-independent

Simon Lacey, Andrew Peters, Krish Sathian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Previous research suggests that visual and haptic object recognition are viewpoint-dependent both within- and cross-modally. However, this conclusion mav not be generally valid as it was reached using objects oriented along their extended y-axis, resulting in differential surface processing in vision and touch. In the present study, we removed this differential by presenting objects along the z-axis, thus making all object surfaces more equally available to vision and touch. Methodology/Principal Findings. Participants studied previously unfamiliar objects, in groups of four, using either vision or touch. Subsequently, they performed a four-alternative forced-choice object identification task with the studied objects presented in both unrotated and rotated (180° about the x-, y-, and z-axes) orientations. Rotation impaired within-modal recognition accuracy in both vision and touch, but not cross-modal recognition accuracy. Within-modally, visual recognition accuracy was reduced by rotation about the x- and y-axes more than the x-axis, whilst haptic recognition was equally affected by rotation about all three axes. Cross-modal (but not within-modal) accuracy correlated with spatial (but not object) imagery scores. Conclusions/Significance. The viewpoint-independence of cross-modal object identification points to its mediation by a high-level abstract representation. The correlation between spatial imagery scores and cross-modal performance suggest that construction of this high-level representation is linked to the ability to perform spatial transformations. Within-modal viewpoint-dependence appears to have a different basis in vision than in touch, possibly due to surface occlusion being important in vision but not touch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere890
JournalPloS one
Volume2
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 12 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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