The Effect of Variability in Stiffness on Perception and Grip Force Adjustment

Hanna Kossowsky, Mor Farajian, Amit Milstein, Ilana Nisky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Haptic information can be used to create our perception of the stiffness of objects and to regulate grip force. Introducing noise into sensory inputs can create uncertainty, yet a method of creating haptic uncertainty without distorting the haptic information has yet to be discovered. Toward this end, in this article, we investigated the effect of varying haptic information between consecutive interactions with an elastic force field on stiffness perception and grip force control. In a stiffness discrimination task, participants interacted with force fields multiple times. Low, medium, and high variability levels were created by drawing the stiffness level applied in each consecutive interaction within a trial from normal distributions. Perceptual haptic uncertainty was created only by the medium variability level. Moreover, all the variability levels affected the grip force control: the modulation of the grip force with the load force decreased with repeated interactions with the force field, whereas no change in the baseline grip force was observed. Additionally, we ascertained that participants formed their perceived stiffness by calculating a weighted average of the different stiffness levels applied by a given force field. We conclude that the medium variability level can be effective in inducing uncertainty in both perception and action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-525
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Computational models
  • grip force
  • stiffness perception
  • uncertainty
  • variability.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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