Touching Curvature and Feeling Size: a Contrast Illusion
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We know that our eyes can be deceiving. Here we demonstrate that we should not always trust our sense of touch either. Previous studies have shown that when pinching an object between thumb and index finger, we can under many circumstances accurately perceive its size. In contrast, the current results show that the local curvature at the areas of contact between the object and the fingers causes systematic under- or overestimation of the object’s size. This is rather surprising given that local curvature is not directly related to the object’s size. We suggest an explanation in terms of a contrast between the finger separation and an inferred relationship between local curvature and size. This study provides the first demonstration of an illusory haptic size percept caused by local curvature in a pinch grip.
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