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Mental transformation abilities in patients with unilateral and bilateral vestibular loss

Grabherr, Luzia
Mast, Fred W
Published in Experimental Brain Research. 2011, vol. 209, no. 2, p. 205-14
Abstract Vestibular information helps to establish a reliable gravitational frame of reference and contributes to the adequate perception of the location of one's own body in space. This information is likely to be required in spatial cognitive tasks. Indeed, previous studies suggest that the processing of vestibular information is involved in mental transformation tasks in healthy participants. In this study, we investigate whether patients with bilateral or unilateral vestibular loss show impaired ability to mentally transform images of bodies and body parts compared to a healthy, age-matched control group. An egocentric and an object-based mental transformation task were used. Moreover, spatial perception was assessed using a computerized version of the subjective visual vertical and the rod and frame test. Participants with bilateral vestibular loss showed impaired performance in mental transformation, especially in egocentric mental transformation, compared to participants with unilateral vestibular lesions and the control group. Performance of participants with unilateral vestibular lesions and the control group are comparable, and no differences were found between right- and left-sided labyrinthectomized patients. A control task showed no differences between the three groups. The findings from this study substantiate that central vestibular processes are involved in imagined spatial body transformations; but interestingly, only participants with bilateral vestibular loss are affected, whereas unilateral vestibular loss does not lead to a decline in spatial imagery.
Keywords AdultAgedAnalysis of VarianceFemaleHumansImagination/physiologyMaleMiddle AgedOrientation/physiologyPsychomotor Performance/physiologyQuestionnairesReaction Time/physiologySpace Perception/physiologyVestibular Diseases/physiopathology/psychology
PMID: 21287158
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Article (Published version) (329 Kb) - public document Free access
Research group Implant, fonction et affections vestibulaires (268)
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GRABHERR, Luzia et al. Mental transformation abilities in patients with unilateral and bilateral vestibular loss. In: Experimental Brain Research, 2011, vol. 209, n° 2, p. 205-14. doi: 10.1007/s00221-011-2535-0 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:25324

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Deposited on : 2013-01-10

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