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Journal ArticleDOI

Disentangling the visual, motor and representational effects of vestibular input.

01 Jul 2018-Cortex (Elsevier)-Vol. 104, pp 46-57

TL;DR: It is suggested that vestibular information contributes to computation of egocentric representations by affecting the internal representation of the body midline.
Abstract: The body midline provides a basic reference for egocentric representation of external space. Clinical observations have suggested that vestibular information underpins egocentric representations. Here we aimed to clarify whether and how vestibular inputs contribute to egocentric representation in healthy volunteers. In a psychophysical task, participants were asked to judge whether visual stimuli were located to the left or to the right of their body midline. Artificial vestibular stimulation was applied to stimulate the vestibular organs. We found that artificial stimulation of the vestibular system biased body midline perception. Importantly, no effect was found on motor effector selection. We also ruled out additional explanations based on allocentric visual representations and on potential indirect effects caused by vestibular-driven movements of the eyes, head and body. Taken together our data suggest that vestibular information contributes to computation of egocentric representations by affecting the internal representation of the body midline.
Topics: Vestibular system (56%)

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BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online
Abekawa, N. and Ferrè, Elisa Raffaella and Gallagher, M. and Gomi, H.
and Haggard, P. (2018) Disentangling the visual, motor and representational
effects of vestibular input. Cortex 104 , pp. 46-57. ISSN 0010-9452.
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Research reports
Disentangling the visual, motor and representational effects of
vestibular input
Naotoshi Abekawa
1,2*
, Elisa Raffaella Ferrè
3*
, Maria Gallagher
3
, Hiroaki Gomi
1
and
Patrick Haggard
2
*These authors equally contributed to this work.
1. NTT Communication Science Laboratories, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation,
Wakamiya 3-1, Morinosato, Atsugi, Kanagawa-pref. 243-0198, Japan
2. Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, Alexandra House, 17
Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK.
3. Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham,
Surrey TW20 0EX, UK.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Patrick Haggard
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
17 Queen Square
London WC1N 3AR, UK
Telephone: 00 44 (0)20 7679 1153
Email: p.haggard@ucl.ac.uk
*Title page

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Research reports
Disentangling the visual, motor and representational effects of
vestibular input
Naotoshi Abekawa
1,2*
, Elisa Raffaella Ferrè
3*
, Maria Gallagher
3
, Hiroaki Gomi
1
and
Patrick Haggard
2
*These authors equally contributed to this work.
1. NTT Communication Science Laboratories, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation,
Wakamiya 3-1, Morinosato, Atsugi, Kanagawa-pref. 243-0198, Japan
2. Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, Alexandra House, 17
Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK.
3. Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham,
Surrey TW20 0EX, UK.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Patrick Haggard
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
17 Queen Square
London WC1N 3AR, UK
Telephone: 00 44 (0)20 7679 1153
Email: p.haggard@ucl.ac.uk
*Manuscript - with changes highlighted

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Abstract
The body midline provides a basic reference for egocentric representation of external space.
Clinical observations have suggested that vestibular information underpins egocentric
representations. Here we aimed to clarify whether and how vestibular inputs contribute to
egocentric representation in healthy volunteers. In a psychophysical task, participants were
asked to judge whether visual stimuli were located to the left or to the right of their body
midline. Artificial vestibular stimulation was applied to stimulate the vestibular organs. We
found that artificial stimulation of the vestibular system biased body midline perception.
Importantly, no effect was found on motor effector selection. We also ruled out additional
explanations based on allocentric visual representations and on potential indirect effects
caused by vestibular-driven movements of the eye, head and body. Taken together our data
suggest that vestibular information contributes to computation of egocentric representations
by affecting the internal representation of the body midline.
Keywords
Vestibular system; Egocentric Representation; Multisensory Integration.

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Highlights
1. Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS) biases egocentric spatial representations.
2. This bias is dissociable from GVS effects on visual perception and on motor action.
3. Vestibular signals shape egocentric body representation.

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