The effect of dissociation between proprioception and vision on perception and grip force control in a stiffness judgment task Academic Article uri icon


  • Our sensorimotor system estimates stiffness to form stiffness perception, such as for choosing a ripe fruit, and to generate actions, such as to adjust grip force to avoid slippage of a scalpel during surgery. We examined how temporal manipulation of the haptic and visual feedback affect stiffness perception and grip force adjustment during a stiffness discrimination task. We used delayed force feedback and delayed visual feedback to break the natural relations between these modalities when participants tried to choose the harder spring between pairs of springs. We found that visual delay caused participants to slightly overestimate stiffness while force feedback delay caused a mixed effect on perception; for some it caused underestimation and for some overestimation of stiffness. Interestingly and in contrast to previous findings without vision, we found that participants increased the magnitude of their applied grip force for all conditions. We propose a model that suggests that this increase was a result of coupling the grip force adjustment to their proprioceptive hand position, which was the only modality which we could not delay. Our findings shed light on how the sensorimotor system combines information from different sensory modalities for perception and action. These results are important for the design of improved teleoperation systems that suffer from unavoidable delays.

publication date

  • March 1, 2018