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The Components of Vestibular Cognition — Motion  VersusSpatial Perception

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For more content, see Seeing and Perceiving and Spatial Vision.

Vestibular cognition can be divided into two main functions — a primary vestibular sensation of self-motion and a derived sensation of spatial orientation. Although the vestibular system requires calibration from other senses for optimal functioning, both vestibular spatial and vestibular motion perception are typically employed when navigating without vision. A recent important finding is the cerebellar mediation of the uncoupling of reflex (i.e., the vestibular-ocular reflex) from vestibular motion perception (Perceptuo-Reflex Uncoupling). The brain regions that mediate vestibular motion and vestibular spatial perception is an area of on-going research activity. However, there is data to support the notion that vestibular motion perception is mediated by multiple brain regions. In contrast, vestibular spatial perception appears to be mediated by posterior brain areas although currently the exact locus is unclear. I will discuss the experimental evidence that support this functional dichotomy in vestibular cognition (i.e., motion processing vs.spatial orientation). Along the way I will highlight relevant practical technical tips in testing vestibular cognition.

Affiliations: 1: Room 10L16, Division of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, Charing Cross Hospital, London W6 8RF, UK


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