Abstract

Human postural control is a multimodal process involving visual and vestibular information. The aim of the present study was to measure individual differences in the contributions of vision and vestibular senses to postural control, and to investigate if the individual weights could be modulated by long-term adaptation to visual motion or galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS). Since GVS is a less expensive technique than a motion platform and can be wearable, it is a promising virtual reality (VR) technology. We measured the postural sway of observers induced by a visual motion or GVS before and after a 7-day adaptation task. We divided participants into four groups. In visual adaptation groups, visual motions were presented to either enhance voluntary body movement (enhancing vision group) or inhibit voluntary body movement (inhibiting vision group). In GVS adaptation groups, GVS was applied to enhance voluntary body movement (enhancing GVS group) or inhibit voluntary body movement (inhibiting GVS group). The adaptation to enhancing body-movement-yoked visual motion decreased the GVS-induced postural sway at a low motion frequency. The adaptation to the enhancing GVS slightly increased the GVS-induced postural sway and decreased the visually-induced sway at a low motion frequency. The adaptation to the inhibiting GVS increased the GVS-induced postural sway and decreased the visually-induced sway at a high motion frequency. These data suggest that long-term adaptation can modify weights of vision and vestibular senses to control posture. These findings can be applied to training or rehabilitation systems of postural control and also to adaptive virtual-reality systems.

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