Assessing tactile perception in limited visibility could be child's play:Developing the Tupperware neuropsychological task

C van Wijk


In task-environments with limited visibility (e.g. rescue workers in smoke), individuals rely on tactile perception as a primary mode of data acquisition.  They need to translate tactile information into three-dimensional images, to solve problems mentally, before translating them into motor actions.

 To assess this ability in an inexpensive, standardised way, the Tupperware Neuropsychological Task (TNT) was developed.  It is a timed task using the Tupperware™ Shape O Toy.  Participants completed the TNT blindfolded, and also completed standardised measures of spatial visualisation, tactile form perception and memory, and fine motor coordination. 

Health adults (N=170) aged 19 to 30 completed the tasks on all tests on an individual basis.  This paper reports normative data for the TNT, including mean completion time and standard deviations.  It also reports small but significant correlations with other measures of tactile form perception, mental rotations, motor manipulation and tactile recall.  This suggests that the TNT taps all these constructs in one task, which would make it an economical measure of the functions required to work effectively in low visibility environments.   

Keywords:      tactile form perception; mental rotation; tactile memory





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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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