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Action-Specific Perception & Performance on a Fitts's Law Task in Virtual Reality: The Role of Haptic Feedback

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posted on 2022-07-22, 19:48 authored by Panagiotis KourtesisPanagiotis Kourtesis, Sebastian Vizcay, Maud Marchal, Claudio Pacchierotti, Ferran Argelaguet

While user's perception and performance are predominantly examined independently in virtual reality, the Action-Specific Perception (ASP) theory postulates that the performance of an individual on a task modulates this individual's spatial and time perception pertinent to the task's components and procedures. This paper examines the association between performance and perception and the potential effects that tactile feedback modalities could generate. This paper reports a user study (N=24), in which participants performed a standardized Fitts's law target acquisition task by using three feedback modalities: visual, visuo-electrotactile, and visuo-vibrotactile. The users completed 3 Target Sizes X 2 Distances X 3 feedback modalities = 18 trials. The size perception, distance perception, and (movement) time perception were assessed at the end of each trial. Performance-wise, the results showed that electrotactile feedback facilitates a significantly better accuracy compared to vibrotactile and visual feedback, while vibrotactile provided the worst accuracy. Electrotactile and visual feedback enabled a comparable reaction time, while the vibrotactile offered a substantially slower reaction time than visual feedback. Although amongst feedback types the pattern of differences in perceptual aspects were comparable to performance differences, none of them was statistically significant. However, performance indeed modulated perception. Significant action-specific effects on spatial and time perception were detected. Changes in accuracy modulate both size perception and time perception, while changes in movement speed modulate distance perception. Also, the index of difficulty was found to modulate all three perceptual aspects. However, individual differences appear to affect the magnitude of action-specific effects. These outcomes highlighted the importance of haptic feedback on performance, and importantly the significance of action-specific effects on spatial and time perception in VR, which should be considered in future VR studies. 


This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 856718 (TACTILITY).


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National Institute of France for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA)

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  • France