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Influence of pitch tilts on the perception of gravity-referenced eye level in labyrinthine defective subjects



Influence of pitch tilts on the perception of gravity-referenced eye level in labyrinthine defective subjects



Neuropsychologia 45(2): 350-356



We investigate the role of vestibular information in judging the gravity-referenced eye level (i.e., earth-referenced horizon or GREL) during sagittal body tilt whilst seated. Ten bilateral labyrinthine-defective subjects (LDS) and 10 age-matched controls set a luminous dot to their perception of GREL in darkness, with and without arm pointing. Although judgements were linearly influenced by the magnitude of whole-body tilt, results showed no significant difference between LDS and age-matched controls in the subjective GREL accuracy or in the intra-subject variability of judgement. However, LDS performance without arm pointing was related to the degree of vestibular compensation inferred from another postural study performed with the same patients. LDS did not utilize upper limb input during arm pointing movements as a source of graviceptive information to compensate for the vestibular loss. The data suggest that vestibular cues are not of prime importance in GREL estimates in static conditions. The absence of difference between controls and LDS GREL performance, and the correlation between the postural task and GREL accuracy, indicate that somatosensory input may convey as much graviceptive information required for GREL judgements as the vestibular system.

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Accession: 012984343

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PMID: 17101157

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.05.028


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