This paper presents an approach to developing building blocks for rendering synthetic haptic environments using force-reflective haptic interfaces. The task of sphere size identification is used to explore an accurate and efficient way of estimating human performance using the absolute identification paradigm. The results show that subjects can reliably identify 3 to 4 sphere sizes with a set of spheres ranging from 10 to 80 mm in radius. Subjects with prior experience with force-reflective haptic interfaces exhibit higher performance levels. The results also indicate that gradually increasing stimulus complexity yields more accurate measurements of information transmission at little additional cost in terms of total number of experimental trials. Subsequent studies will utilize the new experimental protocol developed in this study.