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Influence of vision on adaptive postural responses following standing on an incline.

Experimental Brain Research 203(1):221 (2010) PMID 20336282 PMCID PMC2872556

Previous studies demonstrated a leaning after-effect (LAE) following standing or walking on an inclined surface consistent with a long-lasting, somatosensory memory for body orientation relative to the surface. Here, we asked whether providing a brief visual reference during LAE resets postural orientation to the new visual reference. The results showed that subjects immediately return to upright when eyes were opened briefly during the post-incline period. However, the subjects also immediately resumed leaning after closing their eyes again following 20 s of eyes open. The duration of LAE was not influenced by 1 or 2 brief periods of vision. Also, the amplitude of the lean following the brief vision period was often larger than when subjects had their eyes closed for the entire post-incline period. These results suggest a powerful somatosensory memory contribution to postural orientation in space that is not eliminated or recalibrated with brief exposure to a visual reference.

DOI: 10.1007/s00221-010-2208-4