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Cox's Chair Revisited: Can Spinning Alter Mood States?


Winter, L; Wollmer, M A; Laurens, J; Straumann, D; Kruger, T H C (2013). Cox's Chair Revisited: Can Spinning Alter Mood States? Frontiers in Psychiatry, 4:132.

Abstract

Although there is clinical and historical evidence for a vivid relation between the vestibular and emotional systems, the neuroscientific underpinnings are poorly understood. The "spin doctors" of the nineteenth century used spinning chairs (e.g., Cox's chair) to treat conditions of mania or elevated arousal. On the basis of a recent study on a hexapod motion-simulator, in this prototypic investigation we explore the impact of yaw stimulation on a spinning chair on mood states. Using a controlled experimental stimulation paradigm on a unique 3-D-turntable at the University of Zurich we included 11 healthy subjects and assessed parameters of mood states and autonomic nervous system activity. The Multidimensional Mood State Questionnaire and Visual Analog Scales (VAS) were used to assess changes of mood in response to a 100 s yaw stimulation. In addition heart rate was continuously monitored during the experiment. Subjects indicated feeling less "good," "relaxed," "comfortable," and "calm" and reported an increased alertness after vestibular stimulation. However, there were no objective adverse effects of the stimulation. Accordingly, heart rate did not significantly differ in response to the stimulation. This is the first study in a highly controlled setting using the historical approach of stimulating the vestibular system to impact mood states. It demonstrates a specific interaction between the vestibular system and mood states and thereby supports recent experimental findings with a different stimulation technique. These results may inspire future research on the clinical potential of this method.

Although there is clinical and historical evidence for a vivid relation between the vestibular and emotional systems, the neuroscientific underpinnings are poorly understood. The "spin doctors" of the nineteenth century used spinning chairs (e.g., Cox's chair) to treat conditions of mania or elevated arousal. On the basis of a recent study on a hexapod motion-simulator, in this prototypic investigation we explore the impact of yaw stimulation on a spinning chair on mood states. Using a controlled experimental stimulation paradigm on a unique 3-D-turntable at the University of Zurich we included 11 healthy subjects and assessed parameters of mood states and autonomic nervous system activity. The Multidimensional Mood State Questionnaire and Visual Analog Scales (VAS) were used to assess changes of mood in response to a 100 s yaw stimulation. In addition heart rate was continuously monitored during the experiment. Subjects indicated feeling less "good," "relaxed," "comfortable," and "calm" and reported an increased alertness after vestibular stimulation. However, there were no objective adverse effects of the stimulation. Accordingly, heart rate did not significantly differ in response to the stimulation. This is the first study in a highly controlled setting using the historical approach of stimulating the vestibular system to impact mood states. It demonstrates a specific interaction between the vestibular system and mood states and thereby supports recent experimental findings with a different stimulation technique. These results may inspire future research on the clinical potential of this method.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:26 Nov 2013 15:00
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:09
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-0640
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00132
PubMed ID:24133463
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-84935

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