Haptic guidance of overt visual attention

Alexandra List*, Lucica Iordanescu, Marcia Grabowecky, Satoru Suzuki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Research has shown that information accessed from one sensory modality can influence perceptual and attentional processes in another modality. Here, we demonstrated a novel crossmodal influence of haptic-shape information on visual attention. Participants visually searched for a target object (e.g., an orange) presented among distractor objects, fixating the target as quickly as possible. While searching for the target, participants held (never viewed and out of sight) an item of a specific shape in their hands. In two experiments, we demonstrated that the time for the eyes to reach a target—a measure of overt visual attention—was reduced when the shape of the held item (e.g., a sphere) was consistent with the shape of the visual target (e.g., an orange), relative to when the held shape was unrelated to the target (e.g., a hockey puck) or when no shape was held. This haptic-to-visual facilitation occurred despite the fact that the held shapes were not predictive of the visual targets’ shapes, suggesting that the crossmodal influence occurred automatically, reflecting shape-specific haptic guidance of overt visual attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2221-2228
Number of pages8
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2014


  • Attention
  • Multisensory processing
  • Visual search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Linguistics and Language

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