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Exp Brain Res. 2009 May;195(3):429-44. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-1805-6. Epub 2009 Apr 26.

Measurement of instantaneous perceived self-motion using continuous pointing.

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Department of Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany.


In order to optimally characterize full-body self-motion perception during passive translations, changes in perceived location, velocity, and acceleration must be quantified in real time and with high spatial resolution. Past methods have failed to effectively measure these critical variables. Here, we introduce continuous pointing as a novel method with several advantages over previous methods. Participants point continuously to the mentally updated location of a previously viewed target during passive, full-body movement. High-precision motion-capture data of arm angle provide a measure of a participant's perceived location and, in turn, perceived velocity at every moment during a motion trajectory. In two experiments, linear movements were presented in the absence of vision by passively translating participants with a robotic wheelchair or an anthropomorphic robotic arm (MPI Motion Simulator). The movement profiles included constant-velocity trajectories, two successive movement intervals separated by a brief pause, and reversed-motion trajectories. Results indicate a steady decay in perceived velocity during constant-velocity travel and an attenuated response to mid-trial accelerations.

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