Where is your head? Perception of relative position of the head on a wielded object

  • Jeffrey B. WagmanEmail author
  • Takahiro Higuchi


Perception of exteroceptive properties (e.g., object length) by effortful or dynamic touch is both task-specific and anatomically independent. We investigate whether task-specificity and anatomical independence generalize to perception of proexteroceptive properties of the person–object system (i.e., relative position of the body on a wielded object). Moreover, we do so when objects are wielded by a body part that is unlikely to be well practiced in such tasks—the head. Experiment 1 found that participants can perceive the relative location of the head on a wielded object and that such perception is likely supported by task-specific sensitivity to an invariant mechanical stimulation pattern—rotational inertia. Experiment 2 found that participants have at least some ability to differentiate between this property and a related exteroceptive property (i.e., partial length of a wielded object extending to one side of the head). The results are discussed in terms of information for perception by effortful touch and a description of the haptic system as a biotensegrity structure.


Haptics Perception and action Touch 



We thank Gabriela Wec, Sarah Caputo, Ellen Bjerga, and Katie Kresse for help with data collection.

Open practices statement

The data and materials for all experiments are available upon request, and neither of the experiments was preregistered


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Promotion SciencesTokyo Metropolitan UniversityTokyoJapan

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