Multisensory interaction in vibrotactile detection and discrimination of amplitude modulation: insights from expert MFS surgeons and naive participants
Technion, Haifa, Israel
# CEA, LIST, Paris, France
** Aalborg University, Denmark.
Perception of vibration during drilling demands integration of haptic and auditory information with force information. In this study we explored the ability to detect and discriminate changes in vibrotactile stimuli amplitude based either on purely haptic feedback or together with congruent synthesized auditory cues in groups of naive subjects and expert surgeons. Our results point toward the complex influence of multimodal experience during vibration perception. First, in naive subjects, we showed that detection and discrimination of amplitude change in complex vibro-tactile stimulus is selectively sensitive to combination of modality and previous experience. In the domain of discrimination, our results suggest that bi-modal performance is always better than uni-modal performance regardless of order of experience. Second, experiments with expert surgeons revealed that expertise in complex skill of maxilla-facial surgery strongly relies on enhanced touch perception, as measured in reaction times and discrimination ability in bi-modal vibro-auditory conditions. These observations suggest that acquisition of mandibular surgery skill has brought to an enhanced representation of vibro-tactile modulations in relevant stimuli ranges. Altogether, our results provide basis to assume that during acquisition of mandibular drilling skill, trainees may benefit from training of relevant basic aspects of touch perception - sensitivity to vibration and accompanying modulations of sound.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011