Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 184, Issue 1, pp 13–29 | Cite as

Translational motion perception and vestiboocular responses in the absence of non-inertial cues

Research Article


Path integration studies in humans show that we have the ability to accurately reproduce our path in the absence of visual information. It has been suggested that this ability is supported by acceleration signals, as transduced by the otolith organs, which may then be integrated twice to produce path excursion. Vestibuloocular responses to linear translations (LVOR), however, show considerable frequency dependence, with substantial attenuation in response to low frequency translational motion. If otolith information were processed similarly by path integration mechanisms, the resulting signal would not be sufficient to account for robust path integration for stimuli typically used in such studies. We hypothesized that such behavior relies upon cognitive skill and transient otolith cues, typically combined with non-directional cues of motion, such as vibration and noise produced by the mechanics apparatus used to produce linear motion. Continuous motion estimation tasks were used to assess translation perception, while eye movement recordings revealed LVOR responses, in 12 normal and 2 vestibulopathic human subjects while riding on a sled designed to specifically minimize non-directional motion cues. In the near absence of such cues, perceptual responses, like the LVOR, showed high-pass characteristics. This implies that otolith signals are not sufficient to support previously observed path integration behaviors, which must be supplemented by non-directional motion cues.



This work was supported by NIH RO1 DC04153, P30 DC005409 and NASAARC LifeSciDiv. Task 199-97-62-14. The author would like to thank Geoff Bush for his monumental aid and coordination efforts at NASA Moffett Field, as well as David Tomko, Lee Stone, the staff of the Vestibular Research Facility, to G.D. Paige for the availability and screening of vestibular patients, and Ed Freedman for his editorial assistance. This work was supported by NIH grants DC-04153, DC-01935, DC-005409, EY-01389 (to the Center for Visual Science), and NASAARC LifeSciDiv. Task 199-97-62-14.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurobiology and AnatomyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Center for Visual ScienceUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  4. 4.Center for Navigation and Communication SciencesUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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