A human can judge the hardness of an object based on the damped natural vibration caused by tapping the surface of the object using a fingertip. In this study, we investigated the influence of the dynamic characteristics of vibrations on the hardness perceived by tapping. Subjectively reported hardness values were related to the dynamic stiffness of several objects. The dynamic stiffness, which characterizes the impulsive response of an object, was acquired across the 40-1,000 Hz frequency range for cuboids of 14 types of materials by administering a hammering test. We performed two psychophysical experiments-a ranking task and a magnitude-estimation tasks-wherein participants rated the perceived hardness of each block by tapping it with a finger. We found that the perceptual effect of dynamic stiffness depends on the frequency. Its effect displayed a peak around 300 Hz and decreased or disappeared at higher frequencies, at which human perceptual capabilities are limited. The acquired results help design hardness experienced by products.
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