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Exp Brain Res. 2004 Jan;154(1):11-21. Epub 2003 Nov 5.

Visuo-vestibular interaction in the reconstruction of travelled trajectories.

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Coll├Ęge de France/LPPA, 11, place Marcelin Berthelot, 75005 Paris, France.


We recently published a study of the reconstruction of passively travelled trajectories from optic flow. Perception was prone to illusions in a number of conditions, and was not always veridical in the others. Part of the illusionary reconstructed trajectories could be explained by assuming that subjects base their reconstruction on the ego-motion percept built during the stimulus' initial moments. In the current paper, we test this hypothesis using a novel paradigm: if the final reconstruction is governed by the initial percept, providing additional, extra-retinal information that modifies the initial percept should predictably alter the final reconstruction. The extra-retinal stimulus was tuned to supplement the information that was under-represented or ambiguous in the optic flow; the subjects were physically displaced or rotated at the onset of the visual stimulus. A highly asymmetric velocity profile (high acceleration, very low deceleration) was used. Subjects were required to guide an input device (in the form of a model vehicle; we measured position and orientation) along the perceived trajectory. We show for the first time that a vestibular stimulus of short duration can influence the perception of a much longer-lasting visual stimulus. Perception of the ego-motion translation component in the visual stimulus was improved by a linear physical displacement, perception of the ego-motion rotation component by a physical rotation. This led to a more veridical reconstruction in some conditions, but to a less veridical reconstruction in other conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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