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Revisiting the fingertip-fovea analogy


Hayward V, Chapman CE, Ernst,  MO
Research Group Multisensory Perception and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Ziat, M., Hayward V, Chapman CE, Ernst, M., & Lenay, C. (2008). Revisiting the fingertip-fovea analogy. Poster presented at 31st European Conference on Visual Perception, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Foveated perception refers to the ability to cyclically attend to small samples of the world at high resolution. Yet, the conscious experience is that of a stable and uniform world. 'Foveated touch' could be similar to foveated vision. When scanning a textured surface with several fingers, one feels a single surface, not several; in vision, a textured surface looks uniform, not like a collection of patches. Vision can give rise to visual suppression of image displacement, or failure to detect absolute displacement of a feature. We investigated what could be called tactile suppression of stimulus displacement. We designed an experiment where subjects scanned a single Braille dot with two fingers, but the stimulus changed absolute location during the short instant when the contact left one finger and shifted to the other. There were instances when the perceptual system did not accurately remap the stimulus during the transition from one finger to the other and failed to detect the change, thereby making the world appear more stable than it really was.