Visual-vestibular influences on locomotor adjustments for stepping over an obstacle

McFadyen, Bradford J., Bouyer, Laurent, Bent, Leah R. and Inglis, J. Timothy (2007) Visual-vestibular influences on locomotor adjustments for stepping over an obstacle. Experimental Brain Research, 179 2: 235-243. doi:10.1007/s00221-006-0784-0

Author McFadyen, Bradford J.
Bouyer, Laurent
Bent, Leah R.
Inglis, J. Timothy
Title Visual-vestibular influences on locomotor adjustments for stepping over an obstacle
Journal name Experimental Brain Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0014-4819
Publication date 2007-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00221-006-0784-0
Volume 179
Issue 2
Start page 235
End page 243
Total pages 9
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Subject 1109 Neurosciences
Abstract Combined visual and vestibular influences on locomotor control, particularly in changing environments, are little understood. We studied such influences on body orientation and foot trajectory control during level walking and obstacle avoidance. Six young adults walked on the level and over an obstacle while vision was present or occluded as well as while vestibular information was intact or perturbed using galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS). The occlusion of vision caused a slowing of gait during obstacle avoidance as well as increased clearance of the leading limb over the obstruction. GVS caused lateral deviations in head and trunk roll angles as well as in foot and trunk displacements, but these lateral deviations were the same during both level walking and obstacle avoidance. In addition, GVS had no effect at all on sagittal plane factors such as speed, foot proximity to the obstacle and vertical clearance over the obstacle. Overall, there is a complex visual control of bilateral obstacle avoidance, but the lack of differences in GVS effects between level and obstructed walking shows that vestibular information is not upregulated for obstacle avoidance. In addition, the robust indifference of anterior foot placement and body displacement to significant lateral deviations from GVS suggests an orthogonally based sensori-locomotor control.
Keyword Locomotion
Obstacle avoidance
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 30 November 2006

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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