Space and Sense
Psychology Press – 2008 – 248 pages
Series: Essays in Cognitive Psychology
How do we perceive the space around us, locate objects within it, and make our way through it? What do the senses contribute?
This book focuses on touch in order to examine which aspects of vision and touch overlap in spatial processing. It argues that spatial processing depends crucially on integrating diverse sensory inputs as reference cues for the location, distance or direction response that spatial tasks demand. Space and Sense shows how perception by touch, as by vision, can be helped by external reference cues, and that ‘visual’ illusions that are also found in touch depend on common factors and do not occur by chance.
Susanna Millar presents new evidence on the role of spatial cues in touch and movement both with and without vision, and discusses the interaction of both touch and movement with vision in spatial tasks. The book shows how perception by touch, as by vision, can be helped by external reference cues, and that ‘visual’ illusions that are also found in touch depend on common factors and do not occur by chance. It challenges traditional views of explicit external reference cues, showing that they can improve spatial recall with inputs from touch and movement, contrary to the held belief.
Space and Sense provides empirical evidence for an important distinction between spatial vision and vision that excludes spatial cues in relation to touch. This important new volume extends previous descriptions of bimodal effects in vision and space.
‘This is a fine book reviewing with excellent clarity the most influential literature on the similarities/differences between active touch and vision and stressing the importance of stimulus redundancy in perception which allows, through input integration, a stable representation of the world.’ – Laila Craighero, University of Ferrara, Italy, in Perception
Introduction: Overview and Layout of the Book. Concepts of Space and Perception Through Touch and Vision in Historical Perspective. The Reference Hypothesis: Spatial Coding as Integrative Processing of Converging Inputs from Vision, Touch and Movement. Cues which Lure People from Walking Straight-ahead in Large-scale Spaces that Lack Reference Cues. Hand Movements and Spatial Cues in Small-scale Space and in Shape Perception by Touch. External and Body-centered Reference in Haptic Memory for Spatial Locations. ‘Visual’ Illusions that Occur in Touch: Evidence for Some Common Factors. Müller-Lyer Shapes in Touch and Vision. What does Vision Contribute to Touch? How Far have we got? Where are we Going?
Susanna Millar is a Senior Research Scientist at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford.