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Exp Brain Res. 1984;56(1):149-53.

Adaptive modification of the vestibulo-ocular reflex by mental effort in darkness.


The vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) can be suppressed in darkness if a subject tries to imagine that he looks at a head fixed target. This mental suppression of VOR was used to induce adaptive changes in VOR gain during 3 h of active head oscillations in complete darkness. VOR gain changes were tested by asking the subject to look at a visual target; then passively or actively the head was turned in darkness while the subject "fixated" the same target. Corrective saccades occurring at the end of the movement when lights were turned on give an elegant measure of VOR gain. Three hours of training induced in 3 subjects a mean of 10.9% and 11.4% decrease of VOR gain for passive and active conditions, respectively. This demonstrates that reflex adaptation can be obtained without external cues, and probably with only an internal reconstruction of target and eye movement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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