Viewpoint dependence in visual and haptic object recognition

Psychol Sci. 2001 Jan;12(1):37-42. doi: 10.1111/1467-9280.00307.


On the whole, people recognize objects best when they see the objects from a familiar view and worse when they see the objects from views that were previously occluded from sight. Unexpectedly, we found haptic object recognition to be viewpoint-specific as well, even though hand movements were unrestricted. This viewpoint dependence was due to the hands preferring the back "view" of the objects. Furthermore, when the sensory modalities (visual vs. haptic) differed between learning an object and recognizing it, recognition performance was best when the objects were rotated back-to-front between learning and recognition. Our data indicate that the visual system recognizes the front view of objects best, whereas the hand recognizes objects best from the back.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*