A Bayesian account of visuo-vestibular interactions in the rod-and-frame task
Number of pages
SourceeNeuro, 3, 5, (2016), article 0093-16.2016
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
SW OZ DCC SMN
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
Panoramic visual cues, as generated by the objects in the environment, provide the brain with important information about gravity direction. To derive an optimal, i.e. Bayesian, estimate of gravity direction, the brain must combine panoramic information with gravity information detected by the vestibular system. Here, we examined the individual sensory contributions to this estimate psychometrically. We asked subjects to judge the orientation (clockwise or counterclockwise relative to gravity) of a briefly flashed luminous rod, presented within an oriented square frame (rod-in-frame). Vestibular contributions were manipulated by tilting the subjects' head, whereas visual contributions were manipulated by changing the viewing distance of the rod and frame. Results show a cyclical modulation of the frame-induced bias in perceived verticality across a 90° range of frame orientations. The magnitude of this bias decreased significantly with larger viewing distance, as if visual reliability was reduced. Biases increased significantly when the head was tilted, as if vestibular reliability was reduced. A Bayesian optimal integration model, with distinct vertical and horizontal panoramic weights, a gain factor to allow for visual reliability changes and ocular counterroll in response to head tilt, provided a good fit to the data. We conclude that subjects flexibly weigh visual panoramic and vestibular information based on their orientation-dependent reliability, resulting in the observed verticality biases and the associated response variabilities.
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- Faculty of Social Sciences 
- Open Access publications 
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