Electrical vestibular stimulation (EVS) is an increasingly popular biomedical tool for generating sensations of virtual motion in humans, for which the mechanism of action is a topic of considerable debate. Contention surrounds whether the evoked vestibular afferent activity encodes a signal of net rotation and/or linear acceleration. Central processing of vestibular self-motion signals occurs through an internal representation of gravity that can lead to inferred linear accelerations in absence of a true inertial acceleration. Applying this model to virtual signals of rotation evoked by EVS, we predict that EVS will induce behaviours attributed to both angular and linear motion, depending on the head orientation relative to gravity. To demonstrate this, 18 subjects indicated their perceived motion during sinusoidal EVS when in one of four head/body

electrical vestibular stimulation, gravito-inertial ambiguity, internal model, spatial orientation, vestibular system
dx.doi.org/10.1113/jp278642, hdl.handle.net/1765/121541
Journal of Physiology
Department of Neuroscience

Khosravi-Hashemi, N., Forbes, P.A., Dakin, C.J., & Blouin, J.S. (2019). Virtual signals of head rotation induce gravity-dependent inferences of linear acceleration. Journal of Physiology, 597(21), 5231–5246. doi:10.1113/jp278642