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Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 96–107 | Cite as

A virtual reality approach identifies flexible inhibition of motion aftereffects induced by head rotation

  • Jianying Bai
  • Min BaoEmail author
  • Tao Zhang
  • Yi Jiang
Article

Abstract

As we move in space, our retinae receive motion signals from two causes: those resulting from motion in the world and those resulting from self-motion. Mounting evidence has shown that vestibular self-motion signals interact with visual motion processing profoundly. However, most contemporary methods arguably lack portability and generality and are incapable of providing measurements during locomotion. Here we developed a virtual reality approach, combining a three-space sensor with a head-mounted display, to quantitatively manipulate the causality between retinal motion and head rotations in the yaw plane. Using this system, we explored how self-motion affected visual motion perception, particularly the motion aftereffect (MAE). Subjects watched gratings presented on a head-mounted display. The gratings drifted at the same velocity as head rotations, with the drifting direction being identical, opposite, or perpendicular to the direction of head rotations. We found that MAE lasted a significantly shorter time when subjects’ heads rotated than when their heads were kept still. This effect was present regardless of the drifting direction of the gratings, and was also observed during passive head rotations. These findings suggest that the adaptation to retinal motion is suppressed by head rotations. Because the suppression was also found during passive head movements, it should result from visual–vestibular interaction rather than from efference copy signals. Such visual–vestibular interaction is more flexible than has previously been thought, since the suppression could be observed even when the retinal motion direction was perpendicular to head rotations. Our work suggests that a virtual reality approach can be applied to various studies of multisensory integration and interaction.

Keywords

Head movement Adaptation Motion aftereffect Multisensory Virtual reality 

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianying Bai
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Min Bao
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Tao Zhang
    • 4
    • 5
  • Yi Jiang
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of PsychologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Xinjiang Astronomical ObservatoryChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive ScienceBeijingChina
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  6. 6.CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence TechnologyShanghaiChina

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