Vestibular stimulation

Stephen Black sblack at UBISHOPS.CA
Wed Nov 13 23:27:37 EST 1996


I'm discussing the vestibular system with my undergraduate class in 
physiological psychology. I wonder if anyone would care to confirm or 
correct the following:

I've told them about the Barany (rotating) chair method of stimulating the 
semi-circular canals. The typical finding is that a blindfolded subject 
will perceive rotation correctly while being accelerated up to speed, 
will no longer perceive rotation some time after being rotated at a 
constant speed, and then will experience a sensation of rotation in the 
opposite direction (falsely) on braking to a stop.

However, much research seems to go on these days not in a Barany chair 
but in a human centrifuge, and there are many natural situations, such as 
travelling on a curve in a car, in a jet, etc. It seems to me that this 
type of rotation at the end of a radius is different from the Barany 
chair type which is around your own axis. I expect that constant rotation 
in a centrifuge, unlike in a chair, would continue to produce a 
vestibular sensation of rotation.

Correct? I haven't seen anyone discuss the distinction between the two 
types of rotation but it seems to me they must be different. Perhaps it's 
considered too obvious to mention.


-Stephen

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stephen Black, Ph.D.                      tel: (819) 822-9600 ext 2470
Department of Psychology                  fax: (819) 822-9661
Bishop's University                    e-mail: sblack at ubishops.ca
Lennoxville, Quebec               
J1M 1A9
Canada
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