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Roll-dependent modulation of the subjective visual vertical: contributions of head- and trunk-based signals


Tarnutzer, A A; Bockisch, C J; Straumann, D (2010). Roll-dependent modulation of the subjective visual vertical: contributions of head- and trunk-based signals. Journal of Neurophysiology, 103(2):934-941.

Abstract

Precision and accuracy of the subjective visual vertical (SVV) modulate in the roll-plane. At large roll angles, systematic SVV errors are biased toward the subject's body-longitudinal axis and SVV precision is decreased. To explain this, SVV models typically implement a bias signal, or a prior, in a head-fixed reference frame and assume the sensory input to be optimally tuned along the head-longitudinal axis. We tested the pattern of SVV adjustments both in terms of accuracy and precision in experiments where the head and the trunk reference frame were not aligned. Twelve subjects were placed on a turntable with the head rolled ~28 degrees counter-clockwise relative to the trunk by lateral tilt of the neck to dissociate the orientation of head- and trunk-fixed sensors relative to gravity. Subjects were brought to various positions (roll of head- or trunk-longitudinal axis relative to gravity: 0 degrees , +/-75 degrees ) and aligned an arrow with perceived vertical. Both accuracy and precision of the SVV were significantly (p < 0.05) better when the head-longitudinal axis was aligned with gravity. Comparing absolute SVV errors for clockwise and counter-clockwise roll-tilts, statistical analysis yielded no significant differences (p > 0.05) when referenced relative to head-upright, but differed significantly (p < 0.001) when referenced relative to trunk-upright. These findings indicate that the bias signal, which drives the SVV towards the subject's body longitudinal axis, operates in a head-fixed reference frame. Further analysis of SVV precision supports the hypothesis that head-based graviceptive signals provide the predominant input for internal estimates of visual vertical.

Precision and accuracy of the subjective visual vertical (SVV) modulate in the roll-plane. At large roll angles, systematic SVV errors are biased toward the subject's body-longitudinal axis and SVV precision is decreased. To explain this, SVV models typically implement a bias signal, or a prior, in a head-fixed reference frame and assume the sensory input to be optimally tuned along the head-longitudinal axis. We tested the pattern of SVV adjustments both in terms of accuracy and precision in experiments where the head and the trunk reference frame were not aligned. Twelve subjects were placed on a turntable with the head rolled ~28 degrees counter-clockwise relative to the trunk by lateral tilt of the neck to dissociate the orientation of head- and trunk-fixed sensors relative to gravity. Subjects were brought to various positions (roll of head- or trunk-longitudinal axis relative to gravity: 0 degrees , +/-75 degrees ) and aligned an arrow with perceived vertical. Both accuracy and precision of the SVV were significantly (p < 0.05) better when the head-longitudinal axis was aligned with gravity. Comparing absolute SVV errors for clockwise and counter-clockwise roll-tilts, statistical analysis yielded no significant differences (p > 0.05) when referenced relative to head-upright, but differed significantly (p < 0.001) when referenced relative to trunk-upright. These findings indicate that the bias signal, which drives the SVV towards the subject's body longitudinal axis, operates in a head-fixed reference frame. Further analysis of SVV precision supports the hypothesis that head-based graviceptive signals provide the predominant input for internal estimates of visual vertical.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Otorhinolaryngology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Ophthalmology Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:09 Feb 2010 11:26
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:51
Publisher:American Physiological Society
ISSN:0022-3077
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1152/jn.00407.2009
PubMed ID:20018837
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-29478

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