Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Postural adjustments induced by simulated motion of differently structured environments

  • 274 Accesses

  • 111 Citations


We have investigated how visual information of a scene, moving along the line of sight of a subject, affects postural readjustments made by a subject when instructed to maintain an upright posture. Two different types of stimulus patterns were presented each inducing a different optic flow field. In one case an optic flow field was induced by simulating motion of a subject relative to a wall and in the second case by stimulating motion of a subject through a tunnel. In both cases clear effects on postural balance were observed. It suggests that postural responses are invariant for the structure of the moving environment. The amplitude of the postural responses did not depend on the velocity of the simulated motion, and therefore did not depend on the absolute magnitude of the optic flow components. The amount of texture in the moving scene proved to be an important factor. In addition, it was found that the control of postural balance is not exclusively dominated by information provided by the peripheral part of the subject's visual field. Moreover, the results indicate that the divergence component in the optic-flow field alone is not sufficient to control posture in forward/backward direction.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Amblard B, Carblanc A (1980) Role of foveal and peripheral vision information in the maintenance of postural equilibrium in man. Percept Motor Skill 51: 903–912

  2. Amblard B, Cremieux J, Marchand AR, Carblanc A (1985) Lateral orientation and stabilization of human stance: static versus dynamic visual cues. Exp Brain Res 61: 21–37

  3. Asten WNJC van, Gielen CCAM, Denier van der Gon JJ (1988) Postural movements induced by rotations of visual scenes. J Opt Soc Am A (in press)

  4. Brandt Th, Dichgans J, Koenig E (1973) Differential effects of central versus peripheral vision on egocentric and exocentric motion perception. Exp Brain Res 16: 476–491

  5. Bronstein AM (1986) Suppression of visually evoked postural responses. Exp Brain Res 63: 655–658

  6. Clement G, Jacquin T, Berthoz A (1985) Habituation of postural readjustments induced by motion of visual scenes. In: Igarashi M, Black FO (eds) Vestibular and visual control on posture and locomotor equilibrium. Karger, Basel, pp 99–104

  7. Collewijn H, Curio G, Gruesser OJ (1982) Spatially selective visual attention and generation of eye pursuit movements. Human Neurobiol 1: 129–139

  8. Doorn AJ van, Koenderink JJ (1983) Detectability of velocity gradients in moving random dot patterns. Vision Res 23: 799–804

  9. Gibson JJ (1950) The perception of the visual world. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Mass

  10. Heywood S (1973) Pursuing stationary dots: smooth eye movements and apparent motion. Perception 2: 181–195

  11. Ishida A, Imai S (1980) Responses of the posture-control system to pseudorandom acceleration disturbances. Med Biol Eng Comp 18: 433–438

  12. Jenkins G, Watts D (1968) Spectral analysis and its applications. Holden Day, San Francisco

  13. Koenderink JJ, van Doorn AJ (1976) Local structure of movement parallax of the plane. J Opt Soc Am 66: 717–723

  14. Koenderink JJ (1986) Optic flow. Vision Res 26: 161–180

  15. Lee DN, Lishman JR (1975) Visual proprioceptive control of stance. J Human Mov Stud 1: 87–95

  16. Lee DN (1980) Visuo-motor coordination in space-time. In: Stelmach GE, Requin J (eds) Tutorials in motor behaviour. North-Holland Publications Comp, Amsterdam New York, pp 281–295

  17. Lestienne F, Soechting J, Berthoz A (1977) Postural readjustments induced by linear motion of visual scenes. Exp Brain Res 28: 363–384

  18. Longuet-Higgins HC, Prazdny K (1980) The interpretation of moving retinal images. Proc R Soc Lond B208: 384–387

  19. Nakayama K (1985) Biological image motion processing: a review. Vision Res 25: 625–660

  20. Nashner LM (1970) Sensory feedback in human posture control. Sc. D. Thesis. MTV 70–3, Cambridge, Mass, Man Vehicle Lab. M.I.T.

  21. Paulus W, Straube A, Brandt T (1984) Visual stabilization of posture: physiological stimulus characteristics and clinical aspects. Brain 107: 1143–1155

  22. Regan D, Beverly KI (1978) Looming detectors in the human visual pathway. Vision Res 18: 415–421

  23. Regan D (1986) Visual processing of four kinds of relative motion. Vision Res 26: 127–145

  24. Siegel S (1959) Non parametric statistics for the behavioral sciences. McGraw-Hill, New York

  25. Soechting JF, Berthoz A (1979) Dynamic role of vision in the control of posture in man. Exp Brain Res 36: 551–561

  26. Steinbach MJ (1976) Pursuing the perceptual rather than the retinal stimulus. Vision Res 16: 1371–1376

  27. Talbott RE (1980) Postural reactions of dogs to sinusoidal motion in the peripheral visual field. Am J Physiol 239: R71-R79

  28. Waespe W, Schwarz U (1987) Slow eye movements induced by apparent target motion in monkey. Exp Brain Res 67: 433–435

  29. Yasui S, Young LR (1975) Perceived visual motion as effective stimulus to pursuit eye movement system. Science 190: 906–908

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to C. C. A. M. Gielen.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

van Asten, W.N.J.C., Gielen, C.C.A.M. & van der Gon, J.J.D. Postural adjustments induced by simulated motion of differently structured environments. Exp Brain Res 73, 371–383 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00248230

Download citation

Key words

  • Posture
  • Vision
  • Optic flow
  • Linear motion