Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion

Ernst MO, Banks MS (2002)
Nature 415(6870): 429-433.

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When a person looks at an object while exploring it with their hand, vision and touch both provide information for estimating the properties of the object. Vision frequently dominates the integrated visual-haptic percept, for example when judging size, shape or position(1-3), but in some circumstances the percept is clearly affected by haptics(4-7). Here we propose that a general principle, which minimizes variance in the final estimate, determines the degree to which vision or haptics dominates. This principle is realized by using maximum-likelihood estimation(8-15) to combine the inputs. To investigate cue combination quantitatively, we first measured the variances associated with visual and haptic estimation of height. We then used these measurements to construct a maximum-likelihood integrator. This model behaved very similarly to humans in a visual-haptic task. Thus, the nervous system seems to combine visual and haptic information in a fashion that is similar to a maximum-likelihood integrator. Visual dominance occurs when the variance associated with visual estimation is lower than that associated with haptic estimation.
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Ernst MO, Banks MS. Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion. Nature. 2002;415(6870):429-433.
Ernst, M. O., & Banks, M. S. (2002). Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion. Nature, 415(6870), 429-433. doi:10.1038/415429a
Ernst, M. O., and Banks, M. S. (2002). Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion. Nature 415, 429-433.
Ernst, M.O., & Banks, M.S., 2002. Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion. Nature, 415(6870), p 429-433.
M.O. Ernst and M.S. Banks, “Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion”, Nature, vol. 415, 2002, pp. 429-433.
Ernst, M.O., Banks, M.S.: Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion. Nature. 415, 429-433 (2002).
Ernst, Marc O., and Banks, MS. “Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion”. Nature 415.6870 (2002): 429-433.
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