Repetition priming and the haptic recognition of familiar and unfamiliar objects

Matt Craddock, University of Liverpool

Rebecca Lawson, University of Liverpool

In four experiments, we examined the haptic recognition of 3-D objects. In Experiment 1, blindfolded participants named everyday objects presented haptically in two blocks. There was significant priming of naming, but no cost of an object changing orientation between blocks. However, typical orientations of objects were recognized more quickly than nonstandard orientations. In Experiment 2, participants accurately performed an unannounced test of memory for orientation. The lack of orientation-specific priming in Experiment 1, therefore, was not because participants could not remember the orientation at which they had first felt an object. In Experiment 3, we examined haptic naming of objects that were primed either haptically or visually. Haptic priming was greater than visual priming, although significant cross-modal priming was also observed. In Experiment 4, we tested recognition memory for familiar and unfamiliar objects using an old–new recognition task. Objects were recognized best when they were presented in the same orientation in both blocks, suggesting that haptic object recognition is orientation sensitive. Photographs of the unfamiliar objects may be downloaded from

Perception and Psychophysics, (2008), 70, 1350-1365.