Perception of self motion during and after passive rotation of the body around an earth-vertical axis

N. Sinha, N. Zaher, A. G. Shaikh, A. G. Lasker, D. S. Zee, A. A. Tarnutzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

20 Scopus citations


We investigated the perception of self-rotation using constant-velocity chair rotations. Subjects signalled self motion during three independent tasks (1) by pushing a button when rotation was first sensed, when velocity reached a peak, when velocity began to decrease, and when velocity reached zero, (2) by rotating a disc to match the perceived motion of the body, or (3) by changing the static position of the dial such that a bigger change in its position correlated with a larger perceived velocity. All three tasks gave a consistent quantitative measure of perceived angular velocity. We found a delay in the time at which peak velocity of self-rotation was perceived (2-5 s) relative to the beginning or to the end of chair rotation. In addition the decay of the perception of self-rotation was preceded by a sensed constant-velocity interval or plateau (9-14 s). This delay in the rise of self-motion perception, and the plateau for the maximum perceived velocity, contrasts with the rapid rise and the immediate decay of the angular vestibuloocular reflex (aVOR). This difference suggests that the sensory signal from the semicircular canals undergoes additional neural processing, beyond the contribution of the velocity-storage mechanism of the aVOR, to compute the percept of self-motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUsing Eye Movements as an Experimental Probe of Brain function A Symposium in Honor of Jean Buttner-Ennever
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780444531636
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123


  • perception
  • rotation
  • self-motion
  • semicircular canals
  • sensation
  • velocity storage
  • vestibular
  • vestibulo-ocular reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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