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Postural adjustments induced by simulated motion of differently structured environments

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Summary

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.

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

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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

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Key words

  • Posture
  • Vision
  • Optic flow
  • Linear motion