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Integration of visual and inertial cues in the perception of angular self-motion

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Author: Winkel, K.N. de · Soyka, F. · Barnett-Cowan, M. · Bülthoff, H.H. · Groen, E.L. · Werkhoven, P.J.
Source:Experimental Brain Research, 2, 231, 209-218
Identifier: 482951
doi: doi:10.1007/s00221-013-3683-1
Keywords: Vision · Inertial · Maximum likelihood · Multisensory integration · Self-motion · Vestibular · Visual · Healthy Living · Human · PCS - Perceptual and Cognitive Systems · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences


The brain is able to determine angular self-motion from visual, vestibular, and kinesthetic information. There is compelling evidence that both humans and non-human primates integrate visual and inertial (i.e., vestibular and kinesthetic) information in a statistically optimal fashion when discriminating heading direction. In the present study, we investigated whether the brain also integrates information about angular self-motion in a similar manner. Eight participants performed a 2IFC task in which they discriminated yaw-rotations (2-s sinusoidal acceleration) on peak velocity. Just-noticeable differences (JNDs) were determined as a measure of precision in unimodal inertial-only and visual-only trials, as well as in bimodal visual-inertial trials. The visual stimulus was a moving stripe pattern, synchronized with the inertial motion. Peak velocity of comparison stimuli was varied relative to the standard stimulus. Individual analyses showed that data of three participants showed an increase in bimodal precision, consistent with the optimal integration model; while data from the other participants did not conform to maximum-likelihood integration schemes. We suggest that either the sensory cues were not perceived as congruent, that integration might be achieved with fixed weights, or that estimates of visual precision obtained from non-moving observers do not accurately reflect visual precision during self-motion. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.