Tactile Motion Aftereffect

This doesn't have anything to do with user interfaces, but it's kind of an interesting finding about tactile perception:

In the classic waterfall illusion, if you stare at the downward motion
of a waterfall for some period of time, stationary objects — such as
rocks — appear to drift upward. MIT neuroscientists have found that
this phenomenon, called motion aftereffect, occurs not only in our
visual perception but also in our tactile perception, and that these
senses actually influence one another. Put another way, how you feel
the world can actually change how you see it – and vice versa.

In a paper published in the April 9 online issue of Current Biology,
researchers found that people who were exposed to visual motion in a
given direction perceived tactile motion in the opposite direction.
Conversely, tactile motion in one direction gave rise to the illusion
of visual motion in the opposite direction.

"Our discovery
suggests that the sensory processing of visual and tactile motion use
overlapping neural circuits," explained Christopher Moore of the
McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT and senior author of the
paper. "The way something looks or feels can be influenced by a
stimulus in the other sensory modality."


To test the effect of tactile motion on visual perception, adjacent
rows of pins vibrated in rapid succession, creating the sensation of a
tactile object sweeping up or down the subjects' fingertips. After 10
seconds of this stimulus, the monitor displayed a static pattern of
horizontal stripes. Contrary to the prevailing assumption that vision
always trumps touch, subjects perceived the stripes as moving in the
opposite direction to the moving tactile stimulus.

Demos of the motion stimuli used in this study can be seen at http://web.mit.edu/~tkonkle/www/CrossmodalMAE.html.

Link: MIT News: How you feel the world impacts how you see it.

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