Implied tactile motion: Localizing dynamic stimulations on the skin

  • Simon MerzEmail author
  • Hauke S. Meyerhoff
  • Charles Spence
  • Christian Frings


We report two experiments designed to investigate how the implied motion of tactile stimuli influences perceived location. Predicting the location of sensory input is especially important as far as the perception of, and interaction with, the external world is concerned. Using two different experimental approaches, an overall pattern of localization shifts analogous to what has been described previously in the visual and auditory modalities is reported. That is, participants perceive the last location of a dynamic stimulus further along its trajectory than is objectively the case. In Experiment 1, participants judged whether the last vibration in a sequence of three was located closer to the wrist or to the elbow. In Experiment 2, they indicated the last location on a ruler attached to their forearm. We further pinpoint the effects of implied motion on tactile localization by investigating the independent influences of motion direction and perceptual uncertainty. Taken together, these findings underline the importance of dynamic information in localizing tactile stimuli on the skin.


Tactile localization Representational momentum Motion perception Direction perception 



The research reported here was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to Christian Frings and Charles Spence (FR2133/5-3). We would like to thank Stephanie Blasl for the drawings incorporated in Figs. 1, 2, and 3 and Moritz Breit and Johannes Stricker for their help with data collection.


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Merz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hauke S. Meyerhoff
    • 2
  • Charles Spence
    • 3
  • Christian Frings
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Cognitive PsychologyUniversity of TrierTrierGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institut für WissensmedienTübingenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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