Changes in subjective ratings of impulsive steering wheel vibration due to changes in noise level: a cross-modal interaction

Cross-modal effects occur when subjective opinions of stimuli from one sense (e.g., tactile at steering wheel) are influenced by simultaneous stimuli in another sense (auditory). A steering wheel rig was used to provide specified vibration stimuli to participants' hands, and a recording of vehicle sound was played in accordance with the vibrations. Participants were subjected to test conditions with vibration values between 10 m s and 20 m s, and auditory stimuli between 88 dB(A) and 98 dB(A) peak. Participants were neither informed of nor asked about any changes in the noise level: thus the purpose of the experiment was withheld from them. The results show that as noise level increased, subjective ratings of steering wheel vibration increased. Therefore, car cabin noise could be used to enhance the feel of the vibration at the steering wheel.