Human perception

I have been reading some articles about haptic and textile and the relation between the two. I found some interesting fact which arose from experiments conducted on human subjects.
In one of the articles (Bergmann Tiest, W, & Kappers, A 2007) the attention was focused on perception of rough materials and this lead me to some important considerations.

Apparently roughness is a very subjective perception in 2 different ways:
-roughness as a perception is different from physical roughness
-roughness is perceived in different ways by different people
Those 2 facts emerged from the anaylisis conducted by Bergmann Tiest and Kappers (Bergmann Tiest, W, & Kappers, A 2007).
From my point of view it is important in order to understand that roughness can communicate different things to different people (perhaps mainly relaying upon past/life experiences).
Therefore in the design process I must be aware of that.

How is a rough fabric perceived by others?
Is it perceived in a similar way or not?
What king of emotions people experience while touching rough fabrics?
I believe that I must ask myself this questions along the designing process and maybe conduct some surveys as well in order to fully understand the subject.

Here I wrie the hypothesis that arose from the Bergmann and Kappers (Bergmann Tiest, W, & Kappers, A 2007) experiment:

– the visual condition recognises the material and its roughness, as experienced haptically before in daily life (retrieved from memory).

– the visual system is capable of directly judging roughness of materials, almost as accurately as the haptic system, for instance, by determining the surface microstructure of the material.

As they said, it is hard to determine which one of the 2 hypothesis is valid and a further study/research is required.

I’ll base my research on both this statements as I think that they are both partially correct. Memory is surely involved in the process of recollecting an haptic feeling but it is also possible that the visual system is capable itself to recognise the level of roughness of a surface.

References list:

Bergmann Tiest, W. & Kappers (2007) Haptic and visual perception of roughness, Acta Psychologica, 124, pp. 177-189, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost, [Accessed 5 November 2015].


Onuno Design

Emma Wigginton

Texture pictures

Rough fabric picture

Fabric samples


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