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The Interplay of Vision
and Referred Haptic Feedback
in VR Environments


As virtual reality environments evolve, users should be able to interact with real objects while also receiving artificially designed sensory cues – such as those from haptic devices. Our research examines wearable haptic devices that provide feedback at the wrist, enabling free fingertip movement. Limited prior work has studied how the shift in feedback location (from fingertips to wrist), called referred haptics, affects perception in a multisensory context. To explore this effect under visual and haptic sensory integration, we ran a within-subjects 2I-2AFC study. Participants chose what they perceived to be the stiffer of two springs in virtual reality while receiving haptic feedback at the wrist through squeezing. We tested three different sets of spring stiffness and five levels of visual manipulation. Two different discrimination strategies were observed among participants – haptic-focused and visual-focused. Notably, the visual-focused participants showed reduced accuracy with greater stiffness differences and more pronounced visual cues. Interaction times also varied according to the study conditions and post-fact groups. Our insights underscore the importance of considering sensory priors in multisensory integration research, particularly for referred haptic feedback.

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