8th Annual Meeting of the International Multisensory Research Forum
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Olivia Carter

Bi-stable tactile stimulus shows perceptual rivalry exists across the senses.
Poster Presentation

Olivia Carter
Psychology Department, Harvard University

Talia Konkle
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joel Snyder
Psychology Department, Harvard University

Christopher Moore
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Vincent Hayward
Centre for Intelligent Machines, McGill University

Qi Wang
BioControls Laboratory, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University

Ken Nakayama
Psychology Department, Harvard University

     Abstract ID Number: 86
     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: May 30, 2007
     Presentation date: 07/05/2007 10:00 AM in Quad Maclauren Hall
     (View Schedule)

During sustained viewing of ambiguous visual stimuli, the observer’s visual experience will generally switch between the different possible alternatives, as illustrated by the Necker Cube and face/vase illusion. This phenomenon of perceptual switching, termed “perceptual rivalry”, was recently demonstrated in the auditory domain. We now present the first evidence of tactile perceptual rivalry, using a tactile version of the apparent motion “quartet” stimulus. Observers placed their right index finger on a tactile piezoelectronic stimulation device (~1cm2). Two pins at diagonal corners of the tactile array were briefly vibrated (100Hz, 200ms), and after a short interval (300ms), the pins at the opposing diagonal corners were vibrated. During repeated cycles of presentation, participants generally report the sensation of motion moving either up/down or left/right across their fingertip, with the perceived axis of motion spontaneously switching every 20 30sec. The temporal characteristics of tactile rivalry will be compared with results from parallel visual and auditory rivalry experiments. Finally, there will be a brief summary of ongoing, currently unsuccessful, attempts to identify interactions between the sensory domains that are specific to the rivalry process. Together this research suggests that sensory ambiguity in different modalities is resolved by similar, but at least partially independent, neural mechanisms.

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