Low-level Modality Specific and Higher-order Amodal Processing in the Haptic and Visual Domains
AdvisorWessinger, Mark C.
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The aim of the current study is to further investigate cross- and multi-modal object processing with the intent of increasing our understanding of the differential contributions of modal and amodal object processing in the visual and haptic domains. The project is an identification and information extraction study. The main factors are modality (vision or haptics), stimulus type (tools or animals) and level (naming and output). Each participant went through four different trials: Visual naming and size, Haptic naming and size. Naming consisted of verbally naming the item; Size (size comparison) consisted of verbally indicating if the current item is larger or smaller than a reference object. Stimuli consisted of plastic animals and tools. All stimuli are readily recognizable, and easily be manipulated with one hand. The actual figurines and tools were used for haptic trials, and digital photographs were used for visual trials (appendix 1 and 2). The main aim was to investigate modal and amodal processing in visual and haptic domains. The results suggest a strong effect, of modality type with visual object recognition being faster in comparison to haptic object recognition leading to a modality (visual-haptic) specific effect. It was also observed that tools were processed faster than animals regardless of the modality type. There was interaction reported between the factors supporting the notion that once naming is accomplished, if subsequent size processing, whether it is in the visual or haptic domain, results in similar reaction times this would be an indication of, non-modality specific or amodal processing. Thus, through using animal and tool figurines, we investigated modal and amodal processing in visual and haptic domains.