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Skilled interactions with sounding objects, such as drumming, rely on resolving the uncertainty in the acoustical and tactual feedback signals generated by vibrating objects. Uncertainty may arise from mis-estimation of the objects' geometry-independent mechanical properties, such as surface stiffness. How multisensory information feeds back into the fine-tuning of sound-generating actions remains unexplored. Participants (percussionists, non-percussion musicians, or non-musicians) held a stylus and learned to control their wrist velocity while repeatedly striking a virtual sounding object whose surface stiffness was under computer control. Sensory feedback was manipulated by perturbing the surface stiffness specified by audition and haptics in a congruent or incongruent manner. The compensatory changes in striking velocity were measured as the motor effects of the sensory perturbations, and sensory dominance was quantified by the asymmetry of congruency effects across audition and haptics. A pronounced dominance of haptics over audition suggested a superior utility of somatosensation developed through long-term experience with object exploration. Large interindividual differences in the motor effects of haptic perturbation potentially arose from a differential reliance on the type of tactual prediction error for which participants tend to compensate: vibrotactile force versus object deformation. Musical experience did not have much of an effect beyond a slightly greater reliance on object deformation in mallet percussionists. The bias toward haptics in the presence of crossmodal perturbations was greater when participants appeared to rely on object deformation feedback, suggesting a weaker association between haptically sensed object deformation and the acoustical structure of concomitant sound during everyday experience of actions upon objects.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Brain Res

Publication Date





1145 - 1158


Crossmodal congruency, Motor control, Striking objects, Surface stiffness, Acoustic Stimulation, Adolescent, Adult, Auditory Perception, Female, Humans, Male, Movement, Physical Stimulation, Wrist, Young Adult