Fusion of visual and vestibular tilt cues in the perception of visual vertical.
until further notice
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Neurophysiology, 101, 3, (2009), pp. 1321-1333
Article / Letter to editor
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Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
SW OZ DCC CO
Medical Physics and Biophysics
F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Journal of Neurophysiology
SubjectBiophysics; DCN 1: Perception and Action
We investigated the effect of visual and vestibular body-tilt cues on the subjective visual vertical (SVV) in six human observers at roll tilts of 0, 60, and 120 degrees . Subjects adjusted a small luminous test line parallel to the perceived direction of gravity, in the presence of a large peripheral visual frame line. These settings, referred to as the frame SVV, were compared with the SVV in complete darkness (dark SVV). The frame SVV was virtually identical to the dark SVV for frame lines parallel or orthogonal to the dark SVV. Away from these neutral positions, the frame induced a periodic SVV modulation, which was small in upright observers, but became quite pronounced when subjects were tilted. For upright, where the dark SVV was very accurate, the frame SVV showed errors in both directions, following a roughly symmetrical pattern. At 120 degrees tilt, where the dark SVV invariably showed tilt undercompensation (A-effect), the frame effect became asymmetrical, with a stronger tendency to improve than to worsen accuracy. We tested whether our findings could be explained by two spatial orientation models: Mittelstaedt's idiotropic model and a Bayesian scheme with a stage for the processing of visual cues. Both models show a periodic frame effect that becomes stronger with increasing body tilt and can explain why frame lines parallel or perpendicular to the dark SVV are ineffective. Based on their performance, we conclude that perception of the visual vertical is based on a centrally weighted fusion of visual, vestibular, and egocentric references.
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