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J Neurophysiol. 2012 Feb;107(3):973-83. doi: 10.1152/jn.00451.2011. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Frequency dependence of vestibuloocular reflex thresholds.

Author information

  • 1Jenks Vestibular Physiology Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

How the brain processes signals in the presence of noise impacts much of behavioral neuroscience. Thresholds provide one way to assay noise. While perceptual thresholds have been widely investigated, vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) thresholds have seldom been studied and VOR threshold dynamics have never, to our knowledge, been reported. Therefore, we assessed VOR thresholds as a function of frequency. Specifically, we measured horizontal VOR thresholds evoked by yaw rotation in rhesus monkeys, using standard signal detection approaches like those used in earlier human vestibular perceptual threshold studies. We measured VOR thresholds ranging between 0.21 and 0.76°/s; the VOR thresholds increased slightly with frequency across the measured frequency range (0.2-3 Hz). These results do not mimic the frequency response of human perceptual thresholds that have been shown to increase substantially as frequency decreases below 0.5 Hz. These reported VOR threshold findings could indicate a qualitative difference between vestibular responses of humans and nonhuman primates, but a more likely explanation is an additional dynamic neural mechanism that does not influence the VOR but, rather, influences perceptual thresholds via a decision-making process included in direction recognition tasks.

PMID:
22072512
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3289464
Free PMC Article

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