Spontaneous postural sway predicts the strength of smooth vection
Palmisano, S., Apthorp, D., Seno, T. & Stapley, P. J. (2014). Spontaneous postural sway predicts the strength of smooth vection. Experimental Brain Research, 232 (4), 1185-1191.
This study asked whether individual differences in the influence of vision on postural stability could be used to predict the strength of subsequently induced visual illusions of self-motion (vection). In the experiment, we first measured spontaneous postural sway while subjects stood erect for 60 s with their eyes both open and both closed. We then showed our subjects two types of self-motion display: radially expanding optic flow (simulating constant velocity forwards self-motion) and vertically oscillating radially expanding optic flow (simulating constant velocity forwards self-motion combined with vertical head oscillation). As expected, subjects swayed more with their eyes closed (compared to open) and experienced more compelling illusions of self-motion with vertically oscillating (as opposed to smooth) radial flow. The extent to which participants relied on vision for postural stability-measured as the ratio of sway with eyes closed compared to that with eyes open-was found to predict vection strength. However, this was only the case for displays representing smooth self-motion. It seems that for oscillating displays, other factors, such as visual-vestibular interactions, may be more important.