Repository hosted by TU Delft Library

Home · Contact · About · Disclaimer ·

Interaction between depth order and density affects vection and postural sway

Author: Lubeck, A.J.A. · Bos, J.E. · Stins, J.F.
Source:PLoS One, 12, 10, 1-12
Identifier: 529844
doi: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144034
Article number: 144034
Keywords: Health · Human & Operational Modelling · PCS - Perceptual and Cognitive Systems · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences


Objective : Vection, a feeling of self-motion while being physically stationary, and postural sway can be modulated by various visual factors. Moreover, vection and postural sway are often found to be closely related when modulated by such visual factors, suggesting a common neural mechanism. One well-known visual factor is the depth order of the stimulus. The density, i.e. number of objects per unit area, is proposed to interact with the depth order in the modulation of vection and postural sway, which has only been studied to a limited degree. Methods : We therefore exposed 17 participants to 18 different stimuli containing a stationary pattern and a pattern rotating around the naso-occipital axis. The density of both patterns was varied between 10 and 90%; the densities combined always added up to 100%. The rotating pattern occluded or was occluded by the stationary pattern, suggesting foreground or background motion, respectively. During pattern rotation participants reported vection by pressing a button, and postural sway was recorded using a force plate. Results : Participants always reported more vection and swayed significantly more when rotation was perceived in the background and when the rotating pattern increased in density. As hypothesized, we found that the perceived depth order interacted with pattern density. A pattern rotating in the background with a density between 60 and 80% caused significantly more vection and postural sway than when it was perceived to rotate in the foreground. Conclusions : The findings suggest that the ratio between fore- and background pattern densities is an important factor in the interaction with the depth order, and it is not the density of rotating pattern per se. Moreover, the observation that vection and postural sway were modulated in a similar way points towards a common neural origin regulating both variables.