Abstract

A periodically reversing optic flow animation, experienced while standing, induces an involuntary sway termed visually induced postural sway (VIPS). Interestingly, VIPS is suppressed during light finger touch to a stationary object. Here, we explored whether VIPS is mediated by parietal field activity in the dorsal visual stream as well as by activity in early visual areas, as has been suggested. We performed a mobile brain/body imaging study using high-density electroencephalographic recording from human participants (11 men and 3 women) standing during exposure to periodically reversing optic flow with and without light finger touch to a stable surface. We also performed recording their visuo-postural tracking movements as a typical visually guided movement to explore differences of cortical process of VIPS from the voluntary visuomotor process involving the dorsal stream. In the visuo-postural tracking condition, the participants moved their center of pressure in time with a slowly oscillating (expanding, shrinking) target rectangle. Source-resolved results showed that alpha band (8–13 Hz) activity in the medial and right occipital cortex during VIPS was modulated by the direction and velocity of optic flow and increased significantly during light finger touch. However, source-resolved potentials from the parietal association cortex showed no such modulation. During voluntary postural sway with feedback (but no visual flow) in which the dorsal stream is involved, sensorimotor areas produced more theta band (4–7 Hz) and less beta band (14–35 Hz) activity than during involuntary VIPS. These results suggest that VIPS involves cortical field dynamic changes in the early visual cortex rather than in the posterior parietal cortex of the visual dorsal stream.

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