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Title: Vestibular and oculomotor influences on visual dependency.
Authors: Roberts, RE
Da Silva Melo, M
Siddiqui, AA
Arshad, Q
Patel, M
First Published: 1-Sep-2016
Publisher: American Physiological Society
Citation: Journal of Neurophysiology, 2016, 116 (3), pp. 1480-1487
Abstract: The degree to which a person relies on visual stimuli for spatial orientation is termed visual dependency (VD). VD is considered a perceptual trait or cognitive style influenced by psychological factors and mediated by central reweighting of the sensory inputs involved in spatial orientation. VD is often measured with the rod-and-disk test, in which participants align a central rod to the subjective visual vertical (SVV) in the presence of a background that is either stationary or rotating around the line of sight-dynamic SVV. Although this task has been employed to assess VD in health and vestibular disease, what effect torsional nystagmic eye movements may have on individual performance is unknown. Using caloric ear irrigation, 3D video-oculography, and the rod-and-disk test, we show that caloric torsional nystagmus modulates measures of VD and demonstrate that increases in tilt after irrigation are positively correlated with changes in ocular torsional eye movements. When the direction of the slow phase of the torsional eye movement induced by the caloric is congruent with that induced by the rotating visual stimulus, there is a significant increase in tilt. When these two torsional components are in opposition, there is a decrease. These findings show that measures of VD can be influenced by oculomotor responses induced by caloric stimulation. The findings are of significance for clinical studies, as they indicate that VD, which often increases in vestibular disorders, is modulated not only by changes in cognitive style but also by eye movements, in particular nystagmus.
DOI Link: 10.1152/jn.00895.2015
eISSN: 1522-1598
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2016. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

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