Perceptual learning of view-independence in visuo-haptic object representations

Exp Brain Res. 2009 Sep;198(2-3):329-37. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-1856-8. Epub 2009 May 31.


We previously showed that cross-modal recognition of unfamiliar objects is view-independent, in contrast to view-dependence within-modally, in both vision and haptics. Does the view-independent, bisensory representation underlying cross-modal recognition arise from integration of unisensory, view-dependent representations or intermediate, unisensory but view-independent representations? Two psychophysical experiments sought to distinguish between these alternative models. In both experiments, participants began from baseline, within-modal, view-dependence for object recognition in both vision and haptics. The first experiment induced within-modal view-independence by perceptual learning, which was completely and symmetrically transferred cross-modally: visual view-independence acquired through visual learning also resulted in haptic view-independence and vice versa. In the second experiment, both visual and haptic view-dependence were transformed to view-independence by either haptic-visual or visual-haptic cross-modal learning. We conclude that cross-modal view-independence fits with a model in which unisensory view-dependent representations are directly integrated into a bisensory, view-independent representation, rather than via intermediate, unisensory, view-independent representations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Psychophysics
  • Recognition, Psychology*
  • Rotation
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Touch Perception*
  • Visual Perception*
  • Young Adult