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Neutral buoyancy and the static perception of upright

  • The perceptual upright results from the multisensory integration of the directions indicated by vision and gravity as well as a prior assumption that upright is towards the head. The direction of gravity is signalled by multiple cues, the predominant of which are the otoliths of the vestibular system and somatosensory information from contact with the support surface. Here, we used neutral buoyancy to remove somatosensory information while retaining vestibular cues, thus "splitting the gravity vector" leaving only the vestibular component. In this way, neutral buoyancy can be used as a microgravity analogue. We assessed spatial orientation using the oriented character recognition test (OChaRT, which yields the perceptual upright, PU) under both neutrally buoyant and terrestrial conditions. The effect of visual cues to upright (the visual effect) was reduced under neutral buoyancy compared to on land but the influence of gravity was unaffected. We found no significant change in the relative weighting of vision, gravity, or body cues, in contrast to results found both in long-duration microgravity and during head-down bed rest. These results indicate a relatively minor role for somatosensation in determining the perceptual upright in the presence of vestibular cues. Short-duration neutral buoyancy is a weak analogue for microgravity exposure in terms of its perceptual consequences compared to long-duration head-down bed rest.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Heather Jenkin, Michael Jenkin, Laurence R. Harris, Rainer Herpers
Parent Title (English):npj Microgravity
Article Number:52
Number of pages:7
Publisher:Springer Nature
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2023/06/28
Copyright:© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Informatik
Institute of Visual Computing (IVC)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 006 Spezielle Computerverfahren
Entry in this database:2023/07/05
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International