Information about the identity and the location of perceptual objects can be automatically integrated in perception and working memory (WM). Contrasting results in visual and auditory WM studies indicate that the characteristics of feature-to-location binding can vary according to the sensory modality of the input. The present study provides first evidence of binding between “what” and “where” information in WM for haptic stimuli. In an old-new recognition task, blindfolded participants were presented in their peripersonal space with sequences of three haptic stimuli varying in texture and location. They were then required to judge if a single probe stimulus was previously included in the sequence. Recall was measured both in a condition in which both texture and location were relevant for the task (Experiment 1) and in two conditions where only one feature had to be recalled (Experiment 2). Results showed that when both features were task-relevant, even if the association of location and texture was neither necessary nor required to perform the task, participants exhibited a recall advantage in conditions in which the location and the texture of the target probe was kept unaltered between encoding and recall. By contrast, when only one feature was task-relevant, the concurrent feature did not influence the recall of the target feature. We conclude that attention to feature binding is not necessary for the emergence of feature integration in haptic WM. For binding to take place, however, it is necessary to encode and maintain in memory both the identity and the location of items.
With visions of Minority Report, many a user's hoped to control gadgets by wildly waving at a Kinect like a symphony conductor. Now there's another way to make your friends laugh at you thanks to the Thalmic Labs' MYO armband, which senses motion and electrical activity in your muscles to let you control your computer or other device via Bluetooth 4.0. The company says its proprietary sensor can detect signals right down to individual fingers before you even move them, which -- coupled with an extremely sensitive 6-axis motion detector -- makes for a highly responsive experience. Feedback to the user is given through haptics in the device, which also packs an ARM processor and onboard Lithium-Ion batteries. MYO is now up for a limited pre-order with Thalmic saying you won't be charged until it ships near year's end, while developers can also grab the API. If you're willing to risk some ridicule to be first on the block to grab one, hit the source.
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