Trust in haptic assistance: Weighting visual and haptic cues based on error history

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To effectively interpret and interact with the world, humans weight redundant estimates from different sensory cues to form one coherent, integrated estimate. Recent advancements in physical assistance systems, where guiding forces are computed by an intelligent agent, enable the presentation of augmented cues. It is unknown, however, if cue weighting can be extended to augmented cues. Previous research has shown that cue weighting is determined by the reliability (inversely related to uncertainty) of cues within a trial, yet augmented cues may also be affected by errors that vary over trials. In this study, we investigate whether people can learn to appropriately weight a haptic cue from an intelligent assistance system based on its error history. Subjects held a haptic device and reached to a hidden target using a visual (Gaussian distributed dots) and haptic (force channel) cue. The error of the augmented haptic cue varied from trial to trial based on a Gaussian distribution. Subjects learned to estimate the target location by weighting the visual and augmented haptic cues based on their perceptual uncertainty and experienced errors. With both cues available, subjects were able to find the target with an improved or equal performance compared to what was possible with one cue alone. Our results show that the brain can learn to reweight augmented cues from intelligent agents, akin to previous observations of the reweighting of naturally occurring cues. In addition, these results suggest that the weighting of a cue is not only affected by its within-trial reliability but also the history of errors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2533-2546
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Cue weighting
  • Sensory integration
  • Haptics
  • Haptic Assistance
  • Error History


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