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Complex Self-Motion Perception

Science Lunch Talk
Colby College
31 March 2009
Jan Holly

Astronauts and balance-disorder patients can have a common symptom:  Disorientation and misperception of motion when moving through the surroundings.  Even healthy people can misperceived motion and orientation, especially in an experimental apparatus designed to study self-motion perception.  However, little-understood is the way in which the brain interprets the body's linear and angular motions in order to form a perception of motion.  Particularly puzzling is the means of distinguishing tilt from translation in the absence of vision.  This talk discusses recent research using several experimental apparatus:  fixed-radius centrifuge, linear sled, variable-radius centrifuge, and off-vertical axis rotator.

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