Sensory Perception & Interaction Research Group

University of British Columbia

Full citation: 
Seifi, H., and MacLean, K. E., “A first look at individuals' affective ratings of vibrations,” in Proc. of IEEE WorldHaptics '13, Daejon, S. Korea, pp. 605-610, 2013.
Affective response may dominate users' reactions to the synthesized tactile sensations that are proliferating in today's handheld and gaming devices, yet it is largely unmeasured, modeled or characterized. A better understanding of user perception will aid the design of tactile behavior that engages touch, with an experience that satisfies rather than intrudes. We measured 30 subjects' affective response to vibrations varying in rhythm and frequency, then examined how differences in demographic, everyday use of touch, and tactile processing abilities contribute to variations in affective response. To this end, we developed five affective and sensory rating scales and two tactile performance tasks, and also employed a published `Need for Touch' (NFT) questionnaire. Subjects' ratings, aggregated, showed significant correlations among the five scales and significant effect of the signal content (rhythm and frequency). Ratings varied considerably among subjects, but this variation did not coincide with demographic, NFT score or tactile task performance. The linkages found among the rating scales confirm this as a promising approach. The next step towards a comprehensive picture of individuals' patterns of affective response to tactile sensations entails pruning, integration and redundancy reduction of these scales, then their formal validation.
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