Human Motion Perception and Visual Vestibular Integration
Our sense of vertical, heading direction, and our motion perception are importation for ambulation, navigation, and spatial orientation. Head motion is sensed by the vestibular end organs in the inner ear, however perception is also influenced by visual cues, optic flow, auditory cues, proprioception, and motor efferent copy. During natural activities these cues are almost always congruent and hence redundant information is available to the central nervous system. This research project uses a hexapod motion platform which can deliver complex motion stimuli in all six degrees of freedom such as that achieved during ambulation. Other sensory stimuli can also be controlled or eliminated so that vestibular perception can be studied independently and the role of other factors can be isolated.
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Understanding Motion Perception Pathology
Dizziness and vertigo are common clinical conditions. Current understanding of some conditions that cause dizziness and vertigo symptoms are limited by current understanding of how humans perceive motion. We are studying how visual and inertial motion are perceived in people with migraine and with peripheral vestibular loss to better understand human motion perception.
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New Methods of Vestibular Rehabilitation
There is currently no good medical or surgical treatment for loss of peripheral vestibular function. This is also a common etiology of vertigo symptoms that can be caused by clinical conditions such vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis, trauma, tumors, and surgery. A current project in the lab involves a home based vestibular rehabilitation technique that allows patients to do exercises at home using their computer and a custom made headset which may help improve their symptoms.
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