, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 131-134

Contribution of somatosensory information to perception of the visual vertical with body tilt and rotating visual field


This study was designed to explore the role of somatosensory information from the trunk in the perception of the visual vertical. Twelve normal subjects and 1 subject with no somatosensory function below the neck attempted to set a line to the true vertical in the sitting and lying positions, first with a static visual background and then with rotation of the background about the line of sight. The absence of somatosensory information did not affect accuracy when the subjects were in the upright position. When lying horizontally, all control subjects experienced a substantial perceived tilt of the vertical in the direction of body tilt (the Aeffect), but, in contrast, the subject lacking somatosensory function exhibited a small but consistent apparent tilt of the vertical in the opposite direction (theE effect). This finding is discussed in relation to two competing hypotheses regarding the mechanisms subserving apparent displacement of the subjective vertical in tilted subjects.