Simultaneous sketching aids the haptic identification of raised line drawings.

Cecchetto, S., & Lawson, R.

Haptically identifying raised line drawings is difficult. We investigated whether a major component of this difficulty lies in acquiring, integrating, and maintaining shape information from touch. Wijntjes, van Lienen, Verstijnen, and Kappers reported that drawings which participants had failed to identify by touch alone could often subsequently be named if they were sketched. Thus, people sometimes needed to externalize haptically acquired information by making a sketch in order to be able to use it. We extended Wijntjes et al.'s task and found that sketching while touching improved drawing identification even more than sketching after touching, but only if people could see their sketches. Our results suggest that the slow, serial nature of information acquisition seriously hampers the haptic identification of raised line drawings relative to visually identifying line drawings. Simultaneous sketching may aid identification by reducing the burden on working memory and by helping to guide haptic exploration. This conclusion is consistent with the finding reported by Lawson and Bracken that 3-D objects are much easier to identify haptically than raised line drawings since, unlike for vision, simultaneously extracting global shape information is much easier haptically for 3-D stimuli than for line drawings.

Perception (2015), 44, 743-754.