Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 195, Issue 4, pp 621–626 | Cite as

Head roll dependent variability of subjective visual vertical and ocular counterroll

  • Alexander A. Tarnutzer
  • Christopher J. Bockisch
  • Dominik Straumann
Research Note


We compared the variability of the subjective visual vertical (SVV) and static ocular counterroll (OCR), and hypothesized a correlation between the measurements because of their shared macular input. SVV and OCR were measured simultaneously in various whole-body roll positions [upright, 45° right-ear down (RED), and 75° RED] in six subjects. Gains of OCR were −0.18 (45° RED) and −0.12 (75° RED), whereas gains of compensation for body roll in the SVV task were −1.11 (45° RED) and −0.96 (75° RED). Normalized SVV and OCR variabilities were not significantly different (P > 0.05), i.e., both increased with increasing roll. Moreover, a significant correlation (R 2 = 0.80, slope = 0.29) between SVV and OCR variabilities was found. Whereas the gain of OCR is different from the gain of SVV, trial-to-trial variability of OCR follows the same roll-dependent modulation observed in SVV variability. We propose that the similarities in variability reflect a common otolith input, which, however, is subject to distinct central processing for determining the gain of SVV and OCR.


Vestibular Otolith organs Eye movements Perception 



The authors thank Albert Züger for technical assistance, Itsaso Olasagasti for statistical advice and Thomas Haslwanter for critically reading the manuscript. Funding was provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (3200B0-105434), the Betty and David Koetser Foundation for Brain Research, Zurich, Switzerland, and the Center of Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zurich, Switzerland.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander A. Tarnutzer
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Bockisch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dominik Straumann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyZurich University HospitalZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Departments of Otorhinolaryngology and OphthalmologyZurich University HospitalZurichSwitzerland

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