Visual Modulation of Human Responses to Support Surface Translation

AKÇAY M. E., Lippi V., Mergner T.

FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE, vol.15, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3389/fnhum.2021.615200
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Psycinfo, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


Vision is known to improve human postural responses to external perturbations. This study investigates the role of vision for the responses to continuous pseudorandom support surface translations in the body sagittal plane in three visual conditions: with the eyes closed (EC), in stroboscopic illumination (EO/SI; only visual position information) and with eyes open in continuous illumination (EO/CI; position and velocity information) with the room as static visual scene (or the interior of a moving cabin, in some of the trials). In the frequency spectrum of the translation stimulus we distinguished on the basis of the response patterns between a low-frequency, mid-frequency, and high-frequency range (LFR: 0.0165-0.14 Hz; MFR: 0.15-0.57 Hz; HFR: 0.58-2.46 Hz). With EC, subjects' mean sway response gain was very low in the LFR. On average it increased with EO/SI (although not to a significant degree p = 0.078) and more so with EO/CI (p < 10(-6)). In contrast, the average gain in the MFR decreased from EC to EO/SI (although not to a significant degree, p = 0.548) and further to EO/CI (p = 0.0002). In the HFR, all three visual conditions produced, similarly, high gain levels. A single inverted pendulum (SIP) model controlling center of mass (COM) balancing about the ankle joints formally described the EC response as being strongly shaped by a resonance phenomenon arising primarily from the control's proprioceptive feedback loop. The effect of adding visual information in these simulations lies in a reduction of the resonance, similar as in the experiments. Extending the model to a double inverted pendulum (DIP) suggested in addition a biomechanical damping effective from trunk sway in the hip joints on the resonance.